Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Rate of Return For Iraq’s Displaced Increased At End of 2018


For the last year and a half the rate of return for Iraq’s displaced (IDPs) has been steadily decreasing. With homes destroyed, the lack of jobs and services, people being banned from their home areas due to their affiliation with the Islamic State, and others starting a new life fewer people were making the decision to go back. At the end of 2018 that pattern changed with more people going home than the previous period.

There were 1,802,832 IDPs at the end of December 2018. That was down from 1,866,648 in October for a total of 63,816 returns over the two months. That averaged out to 31,908 people going back per month. That compared to an average of 26,904 returning a month from September to October.

Every province except for Sulaymaniya had a reduction in the number of IDPs they housed. Salahaddin led the country with a drop of 14,268 people, followed by 9,636 in Dohuk, 9,390 in Anbar, 8,490 in Ninewa, 5,844 in Baghdad, 5,550 in Kirkuk, 3,234 n Diyala, 2,406 in Najaf, 1,482 in Irbil, 972 in Babil, 762 in Qadisiya, 624 in Karbala, 486 in Dhi Qar, 312 in Wasit, 168 in Basra, 150 in Maysan, and 60 in Muthanna. That showed that people were leaving across the country, and especially in those areas in northern and central Iraq with the highest number of IDPs.

At the same time there is new displacement going on as well. The International Organization for Migration recorded 150,222 people leaving their homes in 2018. Almost all of these have been displaced, tried to return, and then left again for a number of issues. 121,776 people went through that last year. For example, the United Nations reported 1,124 families entering IDP camps in November. 567 of them had gone through secondary displacement. People have complained of a lack of jobs and services, their homes being destroyed, and retaliation for being associated with the Islamic State for becoming displaced once again. A spokesman for the UN Human Rights Commission told the press that the government hasn’t fulfilled its promises to aid IDPs and rebuild war torn areas, which means this will persist.  

Iraq is going through its second mass displacement crisis since 2003. While two-thirds of IDPs have returned, the number of people going through that process dwindled in 2018. Aid groups like the International Organization for Migration worry that most of those still displaced will remain so permanently due to poor conditions in their home areas, being banned for their ties to IS or because they have started a new life. This will be the second time in recent history that a sizeable population will have lost their homes and not returned, pointing to the difficulties the country has gone through since 2003.

Displaced By Province
Province
March
May
July
Aug
Oct
Dec
Ninewa
665,910
620,628
602,490
598,578
584,520
576,030
Dohuk
354,432
350,232
349,782
349,776
347,232
337,596
Irbil
232,164
222,738
217,506
216,570
213,402
211,920
Salahaddin
205,182
184,854
169,518
163,812
151,920
137,652
Sulaymaniya
165,630
154,020
151,698
150,888
150,876
150,894
Kirkuk
146,202
133,770
124,668
120,798
113,688
108,138
Baghdad
128,064
107,832
90,852
85,080
75,048
69,204
Anbar
84,552
81,192
74,982
71,664
70,074
60,684
Diyala
78,054
64,674
62,448
62,172
62,298
59,064
Najaf
36,900
30,396
23,400
17,322
15,264
12,858
Karbala
34,680
27,018
23,280
23,004
22,722
22,098
Babil
27,978
25,794
22,818
20,496
19,662
18,690
Qadisiya
13,926
12,882
12,228
12,060
12,012
11,250
Wasit
13,680
13,164
12,042
12,132
12,018
11,706
Basra
8,496
8,046
8,082
7,968
7,872
7,704
Dhi Qar
4,476
4,098
4,086
4,080
4,038
3,552
Maysan
3,126
3,006
2,832
2,796
2,742
2,592
Muthanna
1,800
1,374
1,272
1,260
1,260
1,200
TOTAL
2,205,252
2,045,718
1,953,984
1,920,456
1,866,648
1,802,832

Total Number of Displaced Oct 2017-Dec 2018
Month
Total Displaced
Difference
October 2017
3,174,678

November 2017
2,883,738
-290,940
December 2017
2,615,988
-267,750
February 2018
2,317,698
-298,290
(2 months)
March 2018
2,205,252
-112,446
May 2018
2,045,718
-159,534
(2 months)
Jul 2018
1,953,984
-91,734
(2 months)
August 2018
1,920,456
-33,528
October 2018
1,866,648
-53,808
(2 months)
December 2018
1,802,832
-63,816
(2 months)

SOURCES

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix DTM Round
107,” December 2018

Middle East Monitor, “Iraq is not serious about allowing displaced citizens to return, says UN,” 1/18/19

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Iraq Protection Update – November 2018,” December 2018

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