The International Organization for Migration (IOM) released its end of the year report for displacement in Iraq and found that more people returned to their homes than were displaced in 2017.
By the end of 2017, there were 2,615, 988 registered displaced (IDPs) versus 3,220,362 returns. Displacement was down 9% in the country for the year, while people going back to their homes was up 17%. In comparison, in 2015 just 468,780 made the trip back to their original areas. In 2016 that number went up to 1,370,862, before passing 3 million in 2017. The turnaround was due to the victory over the Islamic State on the battlefield. As more areas were freed, a larger number of people returned.
That explained which provinces received the most returnees. 1,213,476 went back to Anbar, 874,862 went to Ninewa, 459,186 went to Salahaddin, 244,764 went to Kirkuk, 217,416 went to Diyala, and 74,868 went to Baghdad. West Anbar was the last part of Iraq to be cleared of the Islamic State. Before that there were military operations to liberate Shirqat in Salahaddin, Hawija in Kirkuk, and Mosul and west Ninewa.
Most the displaced are concentrated in just a few provinces. Ninewa, Dohuk, Irbil, Salahaddin, Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Anbar were home to 82% of the IDPs. There were 807,324 in Ninewa, 362,898 in Dohuk, 255,672 in Irbil, 247,362 in Salahaddin, and 188,406 in Sulaymaniya for example. In terms of where they came from, 57% or 1,480,278 people originated from Ninewa, followed by Anbar and Salahaddin. Those were the last three provinces liberated, which explains why so many people were still displaced from there.
Where Displaced Located In Iraq
Dhi Qar 5,820
Where Displaced From In Iraq
Now that all the major fighting is over more people should be making the decision to go home. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors such as destroyed homes, lack of money, being banned from the authorities and others that may keep a large number of people from making that choice. After the 2005-08 civil war for example, over one million people never returned. There’s a chance that could be repeated this time around.
International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix, DTM Round 86,” December 2017
- “Integrated Location Assessment, Part I Thematic Overview,” 12/10/17
- “Integrated Location Assessment II, Part II Governorate Profiles,” 12/10/17