Iraq: UNOPS-IDP Situation Report 23 Mar 2003

The security situation in Erbil governorate remained stable. The general situation in Dahuk governorate is still tense due to the bombardment of Faida military camp on the GOI side, near Dahuk, and the rumours about an imminent attack on Mosul city in GOI territory, from the north. The situation is Sulaymaniyah governorate is becoming increasingly tense, particularly in the Halabja area due to the ongoing conflict with Ansar al-Islam.

There have been almost no new migrations from the major urban centres of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dahuk to the north of their respective governorates. The return of people to their homes has been very noticeable in Erbil.

The checkpoints between the three governorates in the north and the GOI territory remained closed today, as has been the case since midday on the 19th of March. There were no other IDPs arriving today in the north from the GOI area.

As of today all UNOPS-IDP personnel in the three northern governorates remain safe and accounted for.

Humanitarian Situation

Erbil and Soran

The situation in Erbil has continued to improve and the feeling of calm and security amongst the people in the city grows daily. Those who had fled Erbil city for the north of the governorate, over the previous couple of weeks, continue to return to town.

The market in Erbil city is well on the way to recovering fully and essential services are again available. The general level of activity and movement in the city has increased considerably compared to the empty city of the past week.

There is still a serious shortage of fuel in Erbil and the price is still very high and well above the normal market price.

The checkpoints on the GOI side of the dividing line remained closed and there was no normal movement between the north and the GOI territory. There were no new arrivals of IDP from GOI territories reported today.

In Soran, there are some 270 families, totalling 1,680 persons, who are currently occupying 11 schools there. Of these 270 families, 66 families comprising 346 persons are IDP who have come to the north from the GOI territories, while the others are IDP who had fled from Erbil.

UNOPS-IDP continued to provide kerosene for heating purposes to IDP in the schools in Soran, as the conditions there are very severe. UNOPS-IDP received an urgent request from the mayor of Soran to provide emergency food relief to 66 IDP families who have come to Soran from the GOI side and who are in a very precarious situation as, unlike the IDP who came to Soran from Erbil, they were unable to bring their food rations or other essential items. UNOPS-IDP has therefore agreed to purchase two weeks of essential food items in the local market for these IDP, on an exceptional basis, until the relevant local authorities or other concerned agency can assist them in a more comprehensive manner. UNOPS-IDP has already purchased the necessary food items and distribution will commence tomorrow.

The work to establish Delizian tent camp in Soran continued as planned today. The number of installed tents has reached 230. UNICEF is working on ensuring the provision of water and sanitation facilities to the camp and UNDP is also engaged in installing in putting in place an electricity supply for the camp.

Work on the establishment of Ashkawtawan tent camp in Mergasoor district is going on smoothly.

In coordination with the mayor office in Soran and the Department of Water, certain measures have been taken to address the increased demand for potable water in the 5 IDP settlements, which are covered by the UNOPS-IDP program together with the increased need for water in the 11 schools that are occupied by the IDP. For its part the project has reacted to this shortage of water by increasing the number of daily trips by the water trucks to the IDP settlements in Soran and the schools.

Given the local authorities current severe shortage of fuel, UNOPS has agreed to supply them with some fuel from the project's emergency buffer stock, so that they can then assist in servicing the potable water needs of IDP in Erbil.


The overall security situation in Sulaymaniyah governorate has deteriorated due to the outbreak of renewed conflict with Ansar al Islam. Movement to the area around Halabja was restricted as per UNGCI instructions and these restrictions remain in force today.

As is the case in the other two governorates, there is a serious shortage of fuel throughout Sulaymaniyah and the price of fuel has also risen considerably.

There have not been any new IDP arriving from GOI areas in Sulaymaniyah today and the checkpoints continue to remain closed as they have been since the 19th.

In cooperation with the Joint Humanitarian Information Centre (JHIC), a general assessment of new IDP in a various areas throughout the governorate was conducted. These results will be available by tomorrow.

UNOPS-IDP commenced its work on the establishment of a camp in Bazyan through the erection of some 40 tents.


The situation in Dahuk city is relatively calm, but there are fears rising of as to a potential imminent emergency situation. This has meant that the streets are no longer as crowded as they were over the past couple of days. Activity in the market is sluggish and there is only a little traffic about and only a few vehicles visible downtown. According to some sources, which have not as yet been confirmed, some of the families who had fled to the villages last week have now returned to the city.

During a site visit by the project to Aloka (the Dahuk checkpoint with GOI), it was clear the area was totally deserted and there was no traffic of any kind. The only people around were soldiers and there were in a high state of alert. There were no reports of any new IDP arriving from the GOI territory and the checkpoint is still closed.

The Brifka settlement centre and three other locations in Kani-Mase, which have been occupied by IDP that had fled form Dahuk and the surrounding areas, are in need of potable water provision. A further assessment was carried out today and it was decided to commence immediate provision of potable water to the 500 families located in these areas. 400 of 500 families are settled in Brifka, comprising a total of some 3,500 persons. The project is making every effort to proceed with the necessary arrangements to resolve this issue as rapidly as possible. Following a rapid assessment of IDP, which was conducted in Dahuk by UNOPS-IDP and JHIC it was noted that there are also around 580 IDP families in the Amdie and Mangeshk areas.

The project team has also visited the longer-term IDP transit camps such as Hetit, Balesha and Deralok and can report that the management services are still functioning properly and the provision of drinking water by contactors is also progressing well. It should be noted that the number of IDP families in Hetit camp has risen from 154 to 335 families and in Deralok transit camp from 54 to 134 families, since the 18th of March. The contractor who is delivering water is however supplying sufficient potable water for these extra families with no request for additional compensation.

There was no fuel at all available in the Dahuk market today and the local authorities fuel stations were also out of fuel. The local authorities are now only providing Diesel for UN Vehicles. The project is totally dependent on its own office stock of Benzene and kerosene, which was stored in case of such an eventuality, for daily use.

In relation to the establishment of Bagera camp, UNOPS-IDP has held discussions with the World Food Programme (WFP) and they have informed the project that they have sufficient dry food, to cover the needs of roughly 5,000 people. This food stock however includes only sugar, rice and oil. The Islamic Kurdistan League (IKL) NGO also has funds to purchase some medicine and dry food and the procurement will be carried out upon the arrival and needs of IDP. The project has completed the erection of 10 tents and mine contamination verification procedures. Two minefields were identified; but fortunately both of them are of low priority risk, as they are located on the top of the mountain.

Coordination Issues

Erbil and Soran

The project convened a meeting was held with the UNICEF watsan sector staff in order to coordinate the activities related to the establishment of camps and other IDP relief activities. Both UNOPS-IDP and UNICER agreed to closely coordinate their activities and work together to provide the greatest possible assistance to IDP.

A further meeting was held with personnel from the UNICEF child protection sector to coordinate activities related to child protection and provision of assistance to destitute children. At the same meeting, which was also attended by the director of the Koysenjaq Social Care Department, the issue of how best to give assistance to the unaccompanied and separated children in Koysenjaq and Taqtaq was discussed. UNOPS-IDP will carry out an assessment of the IDP situation in Koysenjaq and Taqtaq tomorrow.

A meeting was held with the mayor of Soran and there was a detailed discussion as to how the questions of relief and emergency food assistance to IDP and the increased demand for potable water in Soran could be best dealt with.

With the assistance of the trucks from the local authorities responsible for reconstruction and development and those of the transportation contractor, the transportation of 500 Habitat tents to the UNOPS-IDP warehouse in Soran started today. The transportation of these tents should be completed tomorrow.

In conjunction with the JHIC, UNOPS-IDP commenced a general assessment of the IDP situation in areas close to the borders with Iran and Turkey and in areas close to the GOI controlled territory. The initial assessment report is to be ready tomorrow.




UNOPS-IDP held the following meetings today with its partners in the field to coordinate operations:

  • The project conferred with the Internally Displaced Person's Liaison Office regarding the establishment of Bagera camp for IDP

  • A meeting was held with the NGO IKL to discus how best they could contribute to establishing the camp in Bagera

  • UNOPS-IDP met with the World Food Programme (WFP) to explore the possibilities for dry food provision to IDP

  • Given the security situation in Dahuk, the UNOPS-IDP project requested a general meeting of all the UNOPS projects operating in northern Iraq, which also includes the Mine Action Project (UNOPS-MAP) and the Water and Sanitation project (UNOPS-WATSAN). The major points agreed were that given the current state of affairs in the governorate there should be

    1. Daily tracking of UNOPS staff, before the end of each working day.

    2. Tracking of overall security, including staff, premises, warehouses and vehicles and that there should be no parking of private and hired vehicles permitted in the UN Car Park.

UNOPS-IDP also organised a meeting with the UNICEF Staff concerning Bagera camp and UNICEF is now relocating water and sanitation materials to the campsite and by tomorrow will commence the construction of 48 toilets and 32 showers together with a water project. UNDP has informed the project that they are ready to install 250 Kva D.G. which will cover almost 400 families, allowing two amps per family, and are just awaiting the go-ahead from their Head Office in Erbil. Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) will provide medicine and medical teams and will fill the gap in these areas, as other organisations are currently unable to do so.

Today, the UNOPS-IDP Dahuk office also conducted a joint rapid assessment with JHIC covering the majority of IDP locations throughout the six districts of Dahuk governorate. The results of this survey will be tabulated by tomorrow and ready for circulation.


The UNOPS-IDP teams are in constant contact with their local partners and the local authorities in all three governorates.

Access/Protection Issues

In general the security situation has remained calm except for the outbreak of hostilities in the Halabja area, Sulaymaniyah over the past few days.

In Dahuk, the Faida military camp located on the GOI side near Dahuk came under attach and loud explosions could be heard and columns of smoke seen from Dahuk city.

The border with Turkey is still closed, except for diplomatic and press missions. The security set up for the Dahuk and other towns and districts is still well organized and the security forces are operating at high alert.

Issues Requiring Follow-Up


Any Other Business


Additional Information

Table 1: Summary of registered new arrivals in the north from GOI territory
Total number of persons

Table 2: Current Pre-positioning Status of UNOPS-IDP Non Food Items and Tents in the three northern Governorates and Partners in the Field

Packages of Relief Items
Kerosene/ gasoline 12,000 litres of each
Kerosene/ diesel 12,000 litres of each
Kerosene/diesel 15,000 litres of each

1. KRO - Kurdish Reconstruction Organisation
2. IRCS - Iraqi Red Crescent Society
3. KSC - Kurdistan Save The Children