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17 February 2017

A Gwer coffee shop re-opens with help from an IOM business enhancement support package. Photo: IOM

As Displacement Continues in Iraq, Nearly 1.5 Million Iraqi IDPs Return
Posted on Fri. Feb. 17, 2017

Iraq - As military operations to retake Mosul intensify, concerns mount that these operations may displace additional tens of thousands of civilians – beyond the 160,000-plus individuals currently categorized as “displaced” in the Mosul region after four months of combat.

Nonetheless, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has identified a recent spike of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their location of origin across the country – including in the Mosul area – despite simultaneous displacement movements.

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

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

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,381; Deaths: 272 
Posted on Fri. Feb. 17, 2017

Switzerland - IOM reports that 12,381 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 15 February – just under 9,500 to Italy, just under 2,000 to Greece, and 1,000 to Spain. This compares with 84,645 arrivals during the first seven weeks of 2016 – 90 percent of whom arrived in Greece.

Today’s numbers show a significant increase in arrivals to Italy compared with the same period last year – 9,448, up from 6,123 – while the traffic to Greece has practically dried up. IOM Athens reports daily average arrivals in Greece of 42 in 2017 – compared with nearly 1,500 during the same period last winter.

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IOM DG William Lacy Swing with the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. Photo: IOM

IOM Launches Documentary ‘In Their Own Words and Voices’ in Kuwait  
Posted on Fri. Feb. 17, 2017

Kuwait - On Sunday (12/2), IOM launched the documentary In Their Own Words and Voices in Kuwait. The film showcases the agency’s humanitarian efforts in several war and crisis-ridden countries in the Middle East, as well as the positive impact the support of the Government of Kuwait has had on IOM operations and affected populations.

The launch was held under the auspices of H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the National Library of Kuwait. It opened with keynote speeches by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Swing thanked the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, noting: “The generous assistance of His Highness has contributed to giving hope to those who feel hopeless about life amid displacement and wars.” 

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Migration in the News

  • RFI reported on escalating humanitarian needs in South Sudan, which were recently described by the UN as “catastrophic.”
  • AFP reported that 47 men, 11 women and a baby from sub-Saharan Africa were rescued off the Canary Islands, after nine others were missing and feared dead off the Spanish mainland.
  • News Deeply reported that there is no official or definitive record of the number of refugees and migrants who go missing in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe.
  • Brookings reported that G-20 Foreign Ministers are meeting this week in Bonn, Germany. It offers them an opportunity to reset the Western response to the current refugee crisis and present a clearer vision of the role of international humanitarian actors.
  • RFE reported that an unprecedented number of Afghans are returning home to terrible living conditions in their war-torn homeland.
  • Bangladesh’s The New Nation reported that increased natural disasters and loss of livelihoods due to climatic factors could trigger massive internal displacement in the country.

Trending on the Internet

  • Catholic News Service reported that Catholic bishops whose dioceses are along the US-Mexico border have described the "pain, the fear, and the anguish" they see in migrants and will follow the example of the pope in “building bridges, rather than the walls of exclusion and exploitation."

Media Contacts
For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note. For other information please contact the IOM Media & Communications team here