On Tuesday, October 15, 2019, Ministry of Interior and Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) in coordination and collaboration with the Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) held a special meeting with the diplomatic missions and donor countries in the Kurdistan Region. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Reber Ahmed, Minister of Interior and H.E. Safeen Dizayee, Head of DFR and Dr. Jutiyar Adel, the Spokesperson of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Mr. Hoshang Mohamed, Director General of JCC, to discuss the latest developments in Syria and the consequences and impacts on the Kurdistan Region in terms of humanitarian, security and to encourage the donor countries to support the Kurdistan Region.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Dizayee briefed the meeting about the KRG’s position and concerns about the recent developments in Syria and its impact on the Kurdistan Region. He also expressed the KRG’s concerns over the displacement of Syrian people, the humanitarian situation and the movements of the so-called Free Syrian Army to the Kurdish areas as well as the fear of demographic change in the Kurdish-populated areas and reemergence of ISIS.
Later Mr. Reber Ahmed, highlighted the KRG’s role in opening the door for IDPs and refugees in the past years and thanked representatives of the diplomatic missions and the donor countries who have been providing humanitarian assistance. He reiterated that without the assistance of the donor countries, the KRG would not have been able to host such a large number of IDPs and refugees. He also briefed the participants about the situation in the northeastern Syria, stating that the ongoing military operation will cause suffering for the civilians living in the area and will eventually lead to displacement a large number of them to the neighboring countries, including to the Kurdistan Region. Meanwhile, the areas included within the military operation have some camps for IDPs and refugees where most of them are families of ISIS members and some them are senior members of ISIS terrorist group which is a real threat to the security on the Region and Iraq, particularly if they attempt sneak among the displaced people.
Minister Reber revealed that in the worst case scenario, 250,000 refugees are expected to arrive in the Kurdistan Region which puts more pressure on the Kurdistan Region therefore the KRG needs cooperation and coordination of all relevant sides, donor countries, UN Agencies, local and international organizations to respond to the new wave of displacement. On the contrary, the Kurdistan Region might face a humanitarian catastrophe as the KRG cannot bear the burden of providing protection, security and basic services all alone.
Minister of Interior on behalf of the KRG thanked the donor countries, UN agencies and local and international organizations for their support to the IDPs and refugees in the past five years.
Then Mr. Hoshang Mohamed, Director General of JCC, gave a presentation on humanitarian contingency plan to respond and manage the new influx of refugees coming from Syria. He highlighted the current humanitarian situation in the Kurdistan Region and explained the needs to make necessary preparations to help the refugees. In another part of his presentation, Mr. Hoshang briefed the meeting about the current number of IDPs and Syrian refugees, stated that KRG still hosts 1.1 million where 20% of them are residing in 38 camps across the Kurdistan Region. He also talked about the impact of decreased international funding on the humanitarian projects and plans in the sectors of health, education, water and sanitation, waste management and food. Mr. Hoshang also stated that the KRG needs 81 million USD monthly and 971 million USD annually to provide the basic services to the IDPs and refugees in Kurdistan. At the end of the presentation, he briefly mentioned the prepared scenarios to receive the refugee influx from Northeast Syria and the needs for establishing new camps as well as providing services and basic emergency needs.