Living conditions has improved for displaced Iraqis

News Hour:


Displacement continues in Iraq as military operations are ongoing; more than 90,100 Iraqis have been recently displaced from Salah al-Din (Baiji and Al-Shirqat districts) and Ninewa (Al-Qayara sub-district) between 16 June and 5 September 2016, according to IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking. These displacements are in addition to the more than 3.3 million Iraqis already displaced across the country since January 2014.

The humanitarian community is unable to provide sufficient shelters for the overwhelming numbers of displaced Iraqis, with more than 545,000 living in critical shelter arrangements. These populations are particularly vulnerable, as they seek to find shelter in informal settlements, unfinished and abandoned buildings, religious buildings and schools. IOM Iraq is responding by providing assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in out-of-camp settings.

In response to new and protracted displacement, IOM Shelter and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) teams are working in critical shelter arrangements. The teams conduct infrastructure maintenance, training for IDPs and awareness campaigns in order to strengthen community participation. CCCM mobile teams are operating in Baghdad, Salah al-Din, Erbil and Anbar governorates; in 2016, CCCM services have improved the living conditions for more than 1,500 displaced families (9,000 individuals).

IOM services for Iraqi families living in out-of-camp settings also include the distribution of sealing-off kits. The sealing-off kits contain building supplies, plastic sheeting and plywood to reinforce shelters. Since July 2016, IOM has provided over 2,700 sealing-off kits to displaced Iraqis in Salah al-Din, Anbar, Kirkuk, and Baghdad governorates; an additional 700 kits are being distributed this week.

Donors supporting IOM’s work in out-of-camp settings include the European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Government of Japan, the Government of South Korea, the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund (IHPF), and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)- administered by UN-OCHA.

An additional 700 families will soon receive assistance to upgrade critical shelter arrangements, including building and water and sanitation repairs; contractors will hire IDPs to carry out the rehabilitation work, in order to support their livelihoods. Shelter rapid assessments for these activities, carried out with partners, have been completed for more than 60 sites in Baghdad and Salah al-Din.

Abu Ahmed* (45), is from a village near Al-Sharqat district in Salah al-Din governorate. He and 15 family members fled their home in June 2016 due to armed conflict. “We went on foot to avoid being seen by ISIL fighters. We walked for 14 hours until we reached a safe area. Now we live in the fourth floor of an unfinished building. We had open windows and were afraid of our children possibly falling. We managed to cover the open windows with the sealing-off kits from IOM. Now we also have doors and we feel so much safer. It also protects us from the wind.”

IOM continues to provide non-food relief item (NFI) kits to the most vulnerable IDPs. Since the military operations for the liberation of Mosul began in late March, IOM has distributed 19,200 family NFI kits to assist over 115,000 individuals. NFI kits are also being prepositioned in areas of expected displacement in Erbil and Salah al-Din. Donors towards NFIs include USAID-OFDA, ECHO, the Government of Germany and US-Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), IHPF, and UN-CERF.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said, “Iraqis who are forced to flee their homes and seek out shelter arrangements are in urgent need of protection from inclement weather. IOM, in cooperation with our humanitarian partners and donors, seeks to provide the assistance needed to improve shelter conditions for thousands of vulnerable displaced Iraqi families.”

Mridha Shihab Mahmud

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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