Internal Displacement Update, Issue 12: 23 February - 8 March 2017
AFFECTED AREAS Mosul district, Salahuddin governorate
CAUSE OF DISPLACEMENT Conflict
FIGURES About 43,000 new displacements between January and 5 March
About 42,000 people were displaced from Mosul between 27 February and 5 March. This is the highest continuous displacement since 17 October when the government began an offensive to take control of eastern Mosul from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). More than 13,000 people were displaced on 3 March alone. Most displacements between 27 February and 5 March were due to military operations in western Mosul, which were initiated on 19 February (OCHA, 5 March 2017). The displacement came as the battle for Mosul entered more densely populated areas, including the Kuwait, Ma’mun, Tayaran and Wadi Hajar neighbourhoods, and Abu Saif village (OCHA, 28 February 2017).
The most recently displaced people said food shortages and intense fighting forced them to join more than 195,000 Iraqis in 21 camps built by UN agencies and the government around Mosul. “The newest arrivals are in a desperate condition, visibly traumatized, hungry and dehydrated. Many arrived without shoes and wearing soaking clothes, having walked long distances to reach safety at government checkpoints” (UNHCR, 7 March 2017).
Up to 750,000 people in western Mosul city remained largely inaccessible to humanitarians, sheltering from the fighting or waiting for a better time to flee. They risked being caught in the crossfire, and suffered shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel (OCHA, 2 March 2017; IOM, 28 February 2017).
Of the 256,000 people displaced from Mosul between 17 October and 2 March about 192,000 remained displaced as of 2 March, the highest number of IDPs since the crisis began. The remaining 64,000 people returned to their areas of origin (OCHA, 2 March 2017).
About 125 families (more than 800 people) were displaced in Salahuddin governorate between January and 5 March by forces backed by the Iraqi government because they were thought to have ties to ISIL. The displaced people were held against their will in a camp near Tikrit. Some of their homes were destroyed. Hundreds of other families were displaced after an August 2016 decree that ordered the expulsion of relatives of ISIL members and said anyone affiliated with ISIL had no right to return to the governorate. Families from Babil and Anbar governorates faced similar difficulties when returning (Human Rights Watch, 5 March 2017).