Tuesday, April 9, 2019

2019 Returns Of Displaced In Iraq Continue At Higher Pace Then End Of 2018


Iraq still has over one million displaced (IDPs) caused by the war against the Islamic State. At the end of 2018 the number of returns dramatically slowed, but now it has slightly picked up in the near year.

As of February 2019 the International Organization for Migration, the main group working with Iraq’s internal refugees, counted 1,744,980 registered displaced. Ninewa with 546,672, Dohuk with 334,014, Irbil with 212,562, Salahaddin with 128,484, and Sulaymaniya with 150,336 were the home to the largest IDP populations. Not only that but the number of displaced slightly increased in Irbil from 211,920 in December to 212,562 in February. That was due to secondary displacement where people fled their homes during the war, recently tried to go back, but because of bad conditions left again. Najaf also received 534 new people. The main reasons for people leaving a second time were the lack of security, few jobs, and the lack of services.

On the other hand 4,211,982 people had gone back to their homes. From January to February 57,852 IDP made that trip. That compared to 63,816 from November to December 2018. Despite the decrease, that was at a higher pace than the previous months. From September to October for example, there were only 33,528 returns. Most returns were to Ninewa with 27,150, Salahaddin with 11,214, and Kirkuk with 3,744. The major areas people were leaving were Ninewa, Salahaddin and Anbar. Those going to Ninewa noted better security, services, and restarting farming as the main reasons they were going back. For Salahddin and Kirkuk IDPs said improved infrastructure, security, services, and families repairing homes were their motivations.

95% of returnees have gone back to a residence in good condition. The areas with the worst housing for those going home were Ninewa, Salahaddin and Diyala, specifically the Mosul, Tikrit and Khanaqin districts of those provinces. Poor shelter is one of the main reasons why IDPs do not want to return. Likewise, undamaged housing is a major draw.

Overall, the rate of return has slowed down from the levels seen in 2017-18 when over 100,000 people were going back each month. The difficult situations in many post-war areas, especially rural ones where the government is largely lacking and there is little reconstruction going on is a huge deterrent to people. After the civil war of 2005-08 over one million people never went home. Iraq will likely experience that a second time in just a decade’s time.

Displaced By Province
Province
March
2018
May
July
Aug
Oct
Dec
Feb
2019
Ninewa
665,910
620,628
602,490
598,578
584,520
576,030
546,672
Dohuk
354,432
350,232
349,782
349,776
347,232
337,596
334,014
Irbil
232,164
222,738
217,506
216,570
213,402
211,920
212,562
Salahaddin
205,182
184,854
169,518
163,812
151,920
137,652
128,484
Sulaymaniya
165,630
154,020
151,698
150,888
150,876
150,894
150,336
Kirkuk
146,202
133,770
124,668
120,798
113,688
108,138
105,216
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
1,744,980

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)
February 2019
1,744,980
-57,852
(2 months)

SOURCES

International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix DTM Round 108, February 2019,” 3/20/19

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