UN Migration Agency in Iraq Assists Newly Displaced from Hawija Operations
Erbil – Military operations to retake Hawija district and surrounding areas, which began on 21 September, have already displaced more than 2,400 individuals from Hawija, Kirkuk governorate and Shirqat, Salah al-Din governorate. The majority have been displaced to Ninewa governorate, including 1,700 individuals who have been bussed by Iraqi authorities to IOM’s Haj Ali emergency site 60 km south of Mosul.
Most of these recently displaced people arrived to a secure area after fleeing their towns and villages, many walking five to 10 hours through desert lands, leaving them dehydrated and exhausted.
The majority of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) arriving at Haj Ali are children, women and older people. As the military operations continue, thousands of additional families are expected to be displaced and in need of assistance.
Upon arrival, families are assigned a tent and given two kits: a Rapid Response Mechanism kit (food, water and a hygiene kit) by a local NGO; and a non-food item (NFI) kit from IOM, including mattresses, bedding, kitchen set, fan, light, plastic mats, gas cooker, and more. An IOM doctor is present at registration to identify urgent health needs.
Amal, 24, from Tal al-Wared village in Hawija district, along with a group of family members, arrived in Haj Ali site on Friday, 22 September. While visiting IOM’s health center for medical checkups, she said, “Life in Hawija was very difficult, there were shortages of food and basic supplies. I am very concerned about my 16 relatives who were not able to leave the area with us. We are still waiting to hear from them.”
Dr. Ahmed Basheer of IOM at Haj Ali site was among a group of first responders to provide emergency medical care for newly displaced people.
“Many of these people are weak and tired because they have walked for long hours without food and water before reaching the security forces,” said Dr. Basheer. “As we check their health when they arrive, many have acute dehydration and may easily faint due to hypotension.”
Abo Ali, a young man from Hawija said, “I was a student in the College of Education. I left college soon after ISIL came to Hawija and worked as a shepherd and farmer to support my family. During that time there were many restrictions, residents could not go out, even in our own areas.”
“The shelling started one month ago. My mother insisted that my wife, cousin and I leave the area, but she had to stay behind with my brother because she can’t walk well. We left our village at night and walked for five hours from Tal Al-Wared towards the security forces. I hope our areas will be retaken soon so we can go back. I am so worried about my mother; I haven’t been able to reach her for several days,” said Abo Ali.
A total of 1,000 tent plots have been prepared at Haj Ali emergency site for IDP families expected to flee from Hawija operations. A total of 750 non-food item kits have been prepositioned, provided by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
According to IOM Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the displacement of 2,400 individuals from Hawija and Shirqat within the last few days is in addition to more than 102,700 individuals who have been displaced from Hawija district between early August 2016 and 21 September 2017. Together, most of these IDPs have been displaced to Salah al-Din governorate (over 52,600), Kirkuk governorate (over 44,300), Ninewa governorate (5,600) and Erbil governorate (2,200).
For more information please contact IOM Iraq: