The Director General of Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC), Hoshang Mohamed, in an interview with Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) website stated that “Mosul displacement continues as nearly 10,000 people are displaced from west Mosul on daily basis, in which a large number of them arrive at Peshmerga frontlines, then transferred to the reception centers and IDP camps.
Regarding the situation of East Mosul, Mohamed stated; although east Mosul has been fully liberated, people are still displaced to the Kurdistan Region due to the lack of services and instability.
Situation of IDP camps
Director General of JCC said that “all designated camps constructed for the IDPs in Erbil province are full and the camps unable to receive more IDPs, only if IDP families return to their areas of origin then new arrivals will be sheltered in the empty plots. In Duhok province, there are near 8,200 empty tents to receive new Mosul IDPs. However, with the limited financial capacity, it is difficult for the KRG to receive new waves of IDPs.”
In addition, Hoshang Mohamed, stated that the Mosul operation has put a big burden on all services, for instance, so far 35,000 wounded civilians and military forces received treatment in Erbil and Duhok hospitals.”
The number of civilians under the ISIS rule:
Director General of JCC added that nearly 400,000 civilians are now trapped in the areas controlled by ISIS militants and as the street fighting intensifies inside Mosul’s old City, new waves of displacement are expected to arrive in the Kurdistan Region.
He also stated that the capacity of sheltering more IDPs are limited, especially due to having a large number of IDPs and refugees, lack of empty plots, high expenses for provision of security, protection, and services, including shelter, water, food, health and education.
The KRG official who coordinates between Erbil, Baghdad, UN and international agencies for IDP crisis, said that “Baghdad and the international community has not provided sufficient assistance to the Kurdistan Region. For instance, since the beginning of the Mosul operation in 2016, the Iraqi government has only allocated 43 billion IQD for the KRG to build four camps in Erbil and Duhok and allocated 961 million IQD for camp management in 2017.”
In addition, Mohammed stated “with the coordination between all sides, the KRG has been able to help the IDPs and provide them with security, protection and basic services. However, for the continued support and provision of services to the IDPs, more direct financial assistance is required. As due to the destruction of IDPs’ areas of origin, damage of the infrastructure, instability and bad security situation, it is expected that the IDPs will stay longer which will put heavier burden on the Kurdistan Region.”
“In order for the KRG be able to provide more and better services to the IDPs and refugees, more financial support is needed. The assistance currently provided by the international community through UN agencies and international NGOs will only cover 22 percent of the humanitarian needs in the Region. The remaining expenditure requirements estimated to be 91 million USD on a monthly basis provided by the KRG. In spite of the camp management costs and provision of basic services for Mosul IDPs, every displaced person needs 3.7 USD which is around 18 million USD on monthly basis.
Director General of the JCC listed the IDP needs as below:
- Direct financial assistance to the KRG to fill the gap of the humanitarian budget.
- Provision of medicine and medical supplies
- Provision of food and drinking water
- Provision of non-food items, including clothes for all ages
- Opening health centers, renovating existing hospitals and health centers and ambulances.
- Waste management at the camps
- Renovating the infrastructure of the camps, changing the old tents, as of now 22,000 tents need to be replaced.
- Building schools for the IDP children, and provision of special budget for school management and salaries of teachers.
In relation to returning the IDPs to their areas of origin, Hoshang Mohamed said that since the operation of Mosul liberation only 41,000 people, which is around 8,500 families, have returned to the Mosul liberation areas. However, due to worsening of security situation and lack of basic services inside Mosul and liberated areas, the returning process has slowed down due to the threat of armed groups and lack of financial capability of the families. In this regard, Baghdad does not seem to have a plan as there has not been any sufficient financial assistance provided for the IDPs to allow them return to their homes. On contrary, the returning process has been complicated in a way requires the permission from several institutions and sides.
KRG efforts for voluntary return of the IDPs:
The KRG efforts continue to encourage voluntary return of the IDPs and is ready to provide them with support and services to expedite the returning process. But lack of a comprehensive, efficient plans for stability and rehabilitation of the liberated areas, has hindered the returning process of the IDPs. Meanwhile, there is no coordination between the KRG’s Ministry of Interior and Baghdad on the IDPs return, stabilization and rehabilitation processes in the retaken areas.
In order to resolve this issue, the KRG’s Minister of Interior has suggested the formation of a high joint committee between Erbil, Baghdad and the UN to draw a joint mechanism, strategy and plan for the process of stabilization, rehabilitation and IDPs return. However, there has not been any response from neither the UN nor Baghdad yet.
Number of IDPs:
According to JCC, there are 1,341,450 IDPs currently in the Kurdistan Region, in which 38 percent of them have been settled in the IDP camps while the rest are living among the host community.
Moreover, the Kurdistan Region hosts 97 percent of the Syrian refugees in Iraq, among them there are 228,567 registered Syrian refugees and about 25,000 unregistered refugees. 61 percent of the refugees have been settled in camps in Erbil, Slemani and Duhok.