IOM Iraq Publishes First Nationwide Assessment on Displacement and Returns
Iraq - As the Mosul operation continues and aid agencies expect thousands more people to flee clashes in Iraq’s Ninewa governorate, a recent study conducted by IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) takes a comprehensive look at displacement and return across the country.
The Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) is IOM Iraq’s first nationwide attempt to simultaneously analyse both displacement and return movements of conflict-affected people. Focusing on both populations enables identification of overarching trends of population movements; evaluation of the pressure that forced displacement places on some governorates; and an outline of social and living conditions, basic needs, intentions and vulnerabilities shared by internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees.
The assessment covered 3,700 locations across Iraq, where approximately 2.9 million IDPs and more than 720,000 returnees are based. Interviews were carried out with a variety of key informants in each location, including representatives of the host community, displaced population and returnee population. The study was conducted from 1 July to mid-October 2016, thus providing critical sectorial information for more than 3.5 million individuals who have been affected since the beginning of this crisis in 2014.
The report is structured in two parts: Part I offers a thematic overview at country level around five main topics: population and movements; infrastructure conditions; social conditions (including vulnerabilities and protection issues); living conditions; and intentions.
Part II provides profiles of the 18 Iraqi governorates; key themes are reviewed at the governorate and district level. Focus is placed on governorates hosting both IDP and returnee populations, profiling the context and social dynamics of these groups.
Among the main findings, this study identifies access to income to be the primary concern for both populations reported in 65-per-cent of locations hosting IDPs and in 75 per cent of locations hosting returnees. Difficulties in accessing means to earn income are reflected in the high percentage of families stating that they are unable to access food, Non-Food Items (NFI) and health services. Prices are reportedly too expensive for most IDPs and returnees.
Furthermore, shelter remains one of the most pressing issues for both IDPs and returnees, although categorization of the problem differs. In half of the locations shelter is too expensive for IDPs, and in one third of locations returnees live in houses in poor conditions.
The report stresses that the long-term intention of IDPs is to return home; however, over 50 per cent would rather stay in their current location for the moment. Specifically, the top three obstacles to IDP return are: unsafe situation in the location of origin, lack of shelter (house occupied or badly damaged) and absence of services in the location of origin. At the same time, the top three reasons for return are: safety of the location of return, possibility to work/recreate economic activity and general living conditions of the location.
Within the protection concerns identified, the most urgent and frequently reported by IDPs are government evictions and challenges regarding lost legal entitlements and documents.
Returnees are concerned about the risk of arbitrary arrest. Also, domestic violence is being reported both as a priority protection concern and as a child protection concern by high portions of IDP families, indicating stressed family dynamics for those in displacement.
The ILA Part I: Thematic Overview, as the ILA Part II: Governorate Profiles can be downloaded on the DTM ILA portal page. The ILA Round II is currently being conducted across Iraq with a focus on social cohesion and re-integration dynamics. Results of the assessment will be presented during summer 2017.
IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “This large-scale assessment by IOM Iraq DTM helps to inform humanitarian operations and build consensus among the main governmental and UN stakeholders to identify key sectoral priorities and needs. As the Mosul crisis continues and thousands more civilians are displaced, the humanitarian community needs to respond to both emergency needs and rebuilding efforts.”
More than 3 million Iraqis continue to be displaced within the country since January 2014. While new displacement continues, an increasing returnee population is also being monitored across the country. As of 30 March 2017, the DTM has identified more than 1.6 million returnee individuals since 2015.
Now six months into Mosul operations, as of 18 April, DTM has identified more than 331,000 individuals who are currently displaced due to Mosul operations (since 17 October 2016), of whom 170,000 have been displaced in the past two months.
Cumulatively DTM identified more than 424,000 individuals who have been displaced by Mosul operations, and more than 97,000 have returned to their homes.
The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available here.