In 2020, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their area of origin (AoO) or being re-displaced increased, coupled with persisting challenges in relation to social cohesion, lack of services, infrastructure and - in some cases - security in AoO.1 Increased returns were driven in part by the ongoing closure and consolidation of IDP camps; at the time of data collection, 14 camps and two informal sites had closed or been re-classified, with planning ongoing surrounding the future of the remaining camps across Iraq.2 The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)’s3 Returnee Master List recorded that over 8,100 households returned to non-camp locations across the country between September and December 2020.4 In light of these dynamics, the need to better understand the sustainability of returns, conditions for the (re)integration of IDPs and returnees, and the impact of their presence on access to services and social cohesion has been identified in the context of humanitarian and development planning.
Markaz Al-Garma Sub-district
Markaz Al-Garma is a sub-district of Al-Falluja District, located in the eastern area of Al-Anbar Governorate close to Baghdad Governorate. Key informants (KIs) reported that Markaz Al-Garma Sub-district was housing an average of 48,752 households before 2014.
In 2014, Markaz Al-Garma and the nearby cities came under the control of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), resulting in the displacement of over 47,000 households as reported by KIs. On 23 May 2016, ISIL was dislodged from Al-Falluja District by the Iraqi armed forces and their allies during Operation Breaking Terrorism.5 At the time of data collection, an estimated total of 624 households originally from Markaz Al-Garma remain displaced elsewhere as reported by KIs.