IOM Iraq: Displacement Tops 56,000 as Mosul Military Operations Continue

Iraq - The total number of individuals currently displaced in the Mosul emergency now tops 56,400 according to data released today (15/11) by IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking. Since military operations to retake Mosul from ISIL began last month, IOM Iraq tracking shows population movement away from the combat zone has more than doubled in the past ten days, from 22,224 on 4 November to 56,412 last night.

Some 48,750 men, women and children have now been displaced from Mosul district alone. Another almost 5,000 have been displaced from Al-Hamdaniya district, with smaller numbers of people displaced from Telefar, Makhmour and Tilkhaif.

IOM Iraq’s DTM is used by the government and humanitarian agencies to guide the humanitarian response. Emergency Tracking for Mosul began identifying people displaced by military operations around Mosul on 17 October.

On 14 November, approximately 200 families from Markaz, a Mosul sub-district, arrived to Khazer M1 camp. Another approximately 150 families from Baashiqa sub-district moved to Zelikan camp after security screening in Nargazliyah.

“The numbers so far are not as large as expected,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said earlier this month. “We'd heard figures all the way up to 500,000 or 700,000. We are trying to prepare accordingly.”

The Displacement Tracking Matrix also indicates that close to 98 percent of all those leaving Mosul are displaced within Ninewa governorate in northern Iraq, where IOM continues to add capacity in shelter and other inputs in anticipation of growing numbers of displaced families.

East of Mosul, IOM is constructing an emergency site at Qayara Airstrip, which initially will comprise 5,000 plots. Some 68 percent of the work had been completed by yesterday (14/11) with 3,600 plots demarcated and 1,200 tents already erected. A total of 3,000 tents will be on site by the end of today (15/11), according to site managers.

Further infrastructure work is also nearing completion, with planning for the next phase, which will extend the site by an additional 5,000 plots, already underway.

At the nearby Haj Ali Emergency Site, preparations to erect 1,000 tents, including earthworks, tent site demarcation, fencing, road and drainage infrastructure are all underway. 

IOM continues to work closely with the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MOMD) to identify locations and develop emergency sites.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “With the support of the MOMD, preparations at IOM’s emergency sites are well underway. Through IOM’s emergency response, as well as assistance for those displaced longer term, we aim to provide support to improve conditions for those who have suffered so greatly.”

This month IOM Iraq has carried out relief operations in areas newly retaken from ISIL, targeting newly displaced people who have fled to more stable areas. Last week, 110 full winter non-food relief item (NFI) kits were distributed, including blankets, heaters and carpets, to families in the town of Haj Ali. The kits were funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

“We were caught in the crossfire – we fled our village on foot. We had to leave everything behind – including our livestock and cars,” said one man from a village west of Mosul, who fled with his 14-member family.

“Once we arrived in safe areas we were transported by truck to Haj Ali. The school where we are sheltering does not have enough space for all the families. The local community has provided some support, but we still urgently need more help.”

IOM Iraq’s emergency response activities include provision of NFIs, shelter support, health and psychosocial assistance, and camp coordination and camp management (CCCM.)

IOM Iraq is also continuing its assistance to those who have been displaced by ISIL over the longer term.

Recent CCCM beneficiaries include 16 Kurdish families who have been living for over two years in an abandoned construction site that literally lies within the shadow of one of Erbil’s most luxurious hotel towers.

The community of displaced Iraqis, one of dozens routinely monitored by IOM Iraq’s CCCM mobile team based in Erbil, includes dozens of children from the Sinjar region of northwest Iraq, who were displaced when the area was overtaken by ISIL in August 2014.

Life, however, goes on for those displaced to Erbil, and on Sunday (13/11) the children received a special treat: new toys delivered by a CCCM team, a gift from the government of South Korea, which collaborates with IOM Iraq on CCCM in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

“This is part of our awareness project, to make the children feel better in their temporary home,” explained Husham Abdulsalam, a team leader with IOM Iraq’s CCCM team. “The toys are important to kids. Their parents usually are not working and any money they get has to be spent on food. Toys make kids feel they are being noticed.”

About 17 percent of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) IOM Iraq has identified across the country through the DTM are in “critical shelter” arrangements like this one, including informal settlements, and unfinished or abandoned buildings. Most are home to 10-15 displaced families.

CCCM also includes on-the-job training in building skills: carpentry, plumbing and electricity. “Sealing” teams also identify small informal settlements that can be winterized with heating units, PVC windows and doors and fuel storage. Earlier this month in Erbil’s Ainkawa area, Abdulsalam’s team helped 200 families convert an unfinished hotel into a residence better prepared for the coming harsh winter weather.

IOM 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 Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss is available for interview in English, French, Spanish and German.

Download Mosul Emergency Tracking Snapshot here.

Watch a video from Hasan Sham camp here

For further information, please contact:

Joel Millman, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: or

Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: or

Jennifer Sparks, Tel: +964 751 740 1642, Email: