Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Displaced Returns Become A Trickle In Iraq In 2020

(International Organization for Migration)
Almost two and half years after Iraq’s victory over the Islamic State and the returns of those displaced (IDPs) during the war is almost over. While 4.6 million people have gone back to their home areas there are still 1.3 million IDPs. Over 500,000 of those that have gone back are living in severe conditions as well. This repeats Iraq’s previous experience when during the civil war approximately one million had to settle in new areas after the fighting was over.  


2020 has seen the fewest number of returnees of any period. In February 2020 there were 4,640,404 people who had gone home, up from 4,596,450 in December. That left 1,399,170 IDPs remaining. During that two month period 10,530 were newly displaced. Most of those had gone back to their place of origin and then left again. In total, there were only 15,462 returns from December to February for an average of 7,731 per month. That compared to an average of 32,350 in 2019, and 67,763 in 2018. The main reasons why people have not gone back are the lack of security, services, jobs, and destroyed homes. The government claimed it was going to rebuild the country’s war torn areas and held an international conference to raise money, but the results have been very mixed. Local communities and provinces have done most of the work with Baghdad helping little. In 2018 for instance, it only appropriated 0.5% of its spending on rebuilding. It’s gotten to the point that there are no longer reasons why people will go back and most of the IDPs will have to settle where they are. The same thing happened after the civil war ended in 2008. Over one million people were left displaced mostly because of the demographic changes that occurred during the conflict which the government was unwilling to resolve.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the main agency dealing with IDPs in Iraq also found that a large number of returnees are living under severe conditions. The group surveyed 1,850 locations in Iraq. 327 of them were considered severe. They housed 516,522 people. Salahaddin with 202,218 people and Ninewa with 164,478 had the most returnees living in severe conditions, while Salahaddin at 30% and Diyala at 19% had the highest proportion of people in those types of areas. IOM considers an area severe if it lacks jobs, services, social cohesion, reconciliation and security. This shows that half a million people have gone back to their home areas to find most of the basic necessities of living lacking. They probably have nowhere else to go and have stayed there. Again, the government is to blame for this situation as it has neglected the public once again. Despite Iraq being a democracy the ruling parties have only rarely responded to the needs of the population. That’s because the oil wealth makes the elite not dependent upon the public for taxes. Instead it believes that the people should rely upon them because they control all the wealth. Reconstruction didn’t fit their needs beyond grafting money from contracts, and therefore it has not really happened.  

Total Number of Displaced Oct 2017-February 2020 
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) 
April 2019 
1,665,108 
-79,872 
(2 months) 
June 2019 
1,607,148 
-57,960 
(2 months) 
September 2019 
1,552,914 
-54,234 
(3 months) 
December 2019 
1,414,632 
-138,282 
(3 months) 
February 2020 
1,399,170 
-15,462 
(2 months) 

Avg 67,763 returns per month 2018 

Avg 32,350 returns per month 2019 

Avg 7,731 returns per month 2020 

Main Provinces With Returns 
Province 
Sep 2019 
Ninewa 
1,785,738 
Anbar 
1,479,720 
Salahaddin 
680,946 
Kirkuk 
340,092 
Diyala 
230,190 
Baghdad 
90,072 
Irbil 
72,878 
Dohuk 
768 

Displaced By Province 
Province 
Feb 2020 
Ninewa 
331,170 
Dohuk 
318,786 
Irbil 
237,408 
Sulaymaniya 
140,304 
Kirkuk 
99,534 
Salahaddin 
74,484 
Diyala 
54,134 
Baghdad 
38,076 
Anbar 
36,384 
Babil 
17,016 
Karbala 
15,845 
Najaf 
12,504 
Wasit 
6,384 
Basra 
6,528 
Qadisiya 
3,900 
Dhi Qar 
3,426 
Maysan 
2,262 
Muthanna 
1,026 

SOURCES 

International Organization for Migration, “Iraq Master List Report 114, January-February 2020,” March 2020 

International Organization for Migration, RWG Iraq, Social Inquiry, “Return Index, Findings Round Eight – Iraq,” March 2020

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