Fri 17-02-2017 21:08 PM

International Organisation for Migration voices concerns over new wave of displacement in Iraq

GENEVA, 17th February, 2017 (WAM) -- With military operations to regain control of Mosul intensifying, concerns are mounting as these operations may displace additional tens of thousands of civilians, way past the 160,000-plus individuals currently categorised as "displaced" in the Mosul region after four months of combat.

However, the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) displacement tracking matrix or DTM has identified a recent spike in internally displaced persons or IDPs returning to their location of origin across the country, including the Mosul area, despite simultaneous displacement movements.

As of 16th February, DTM identified a cumulative total of 217,764 IDPs (36,294 families), displaced as a result of the Mosul operations that started on 17th October, 2016.

But today, only 160,302 individuals (26,717 families) remain displaced and of these, 93 percent are hosted in Ninewa Governorate. While 78 percent are from Mosul district in Ninewa Governorate, the remaining 57,462 individuals (9,577 families) have returned to their location of origin.

During this period, DTM has recorded nearly 1.5 million returnees (a total of 249,327 families) or IDPs who believe their communities are now safe enough to return to. This represents an overall increase in the returnee population of 7 percent (98,946 individuals) only in the past month.

With Iraq’s military retaking areas from Daesh, IOM has provided figures and identified locations of significant returns, which will facilitate the efforts of the government and humanitarian agencies in directing assistance for people likely to return home this year.

Among the challenges faced by returnees is the security risks due to the presence of militias, dangers of unexploded ordnance and destruction of infrastructure, including housing and other private property.

Commenting on the situation, IOM Iraq’s Chief of Mission Thomas Weiss said, "Displaced Iraqis have had their lives uprooted and communities have been deeply affected. Those returning home need the full support of the humanitarian community. In co-operation with the government of Iraq and humanitarian partners, the IOM is providing returning Iraqis with a variety of support mechanism, including shelter rehabilitation, livelihoods, non-food items and light infrastructure projects, to support their ability to resume their lives and provide for their families."