The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the main non-governmental organization working with Iraq’s displaced (IDP). It coordinates with both the United Nations and Iraq’s Migration Ministry. It recently released its monthly report on the IDP situation in the country showing that the number of people having fled their homes is down across much of the country.
As of November 30, 2017, there were 2,883,738 registered displaced with the government. The actual number may be higher as many people do not sign up with the authorities for various reasons. At the same time, there were 2,769,685 people who had returned to their home regions.
Compared to the previous month, the number of IDPs decreased 9% by 289,350 people. The largest drops were in Irbil where 90,780 returned, Salahaddin down 59,328, Ninewa down 46,482, and Kirkuk with 42,144 people having gone back. Ninewa received the most people with 72,684 having gone there. The amount of returns in Iraq has been directly related to the freeing of areas by the Iraqi forces. In Salahaddin and Kirkuk for instance, there were many people heading home to Shirqat, Baiji and Hawija districts.
The government has both facilitated and forced these movements. It has provided transportation back to home areas, and helped clear their paperwork. At the same time authorities have closed camps in Anbar, Ninewa, Salahaddin and Baghdad forcing people out whether they want to or not.
The two areas where there was new displacement were in the disputed areas after the government moved its forces in leading to a number of clashes with the Peshmerga, and west Anbar, which was recently liberated. People can be expected to go back to the latter soon. The disputed territories are another issue as tensions remain high between Baghdad and Irbil. By the end of November for instance, after fighting had ended there were still 181,782 IDPs from those areas.
By province, Ninewa still had the most IDPs with 941,166. There are 827,718 displaced in the three Kurdish provinces. Many of those are from Ninewa as well, but also from other provinces. Salahaddin had 264,642 IDPs, Kirkuk 221,088, Baghdad 210,096, Anbar 124,182, Diyala 82,968, and Babil 35,388. In the 8 southern governorates, there were 176,490 people. As two other IOM papers recently documented, there are several thousand people who are not going to return anytime soon. That’s due to a number of factors from their homes being destroyed, to a lack of money, to them looking for jobs, to being banned by the security forces. After the 2005-08 civil war, roughly 1.5 million people became permanent IDPs relocating in new areas. A large number may do the same after the war with the Islamic State.
International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix, DTM Round 84 November 2017,” 12/14/17
- “Integrated Location Assessment II, Part I Thematic Overview,” 12/10/17
- “Integrated Location Assessment II, Part II Governorate Profiles,” 12/10/17