The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently released reports on Iraq’s eighteen provinces. They included statistics on the number of Iraqis that have returned to their homes. As reported earlier, since this summer Baghdad has been calling for Iraq’s displaced to come back. It has offered a number of cash incentives, housing, schooling, and ordered squatters to vacate their premises as well. A European official however, recently told Abu Dhabi’s The National that Iraq has no real plan or process in place to pay, assist or integrate returnees. The IOM found that the Ministry of Displacement and Migration has only provided aid to 26.3% of internal refugees. A September 2008 joint survey by the Displacement Ministry and the IOM of 2,102 returning families found that only around half of them, 1,043 had even applied for the government’s offer of money, and of those, 732 had received nothing compared to 311 who had.
Despite this, Iraqis have started to go back, mostly to Baghdad, which saw the greatest displacement, and then Diyala and Anbar. The vast majority are internally displaced, with only a trickle of international refugees. Many cited the improved security, but also the bad living conditions they were in as factors. For refugees, a lack of money and visa restrictions by host countries were major issues.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees there are 4.4 million displaced Iraqis. 2.4 million are within the country and 2 million outside Iraq.
Here are the IOM’s numbers on returnees:
Anbar: 3,101 families, approx. 18,606 people
Babil: 125 families, approx. 750 people
Baghdad: 26,347 families, approx. 158,082 people
Basra: 465 families, approx. 2,790 people
Dhi Qar: 86 families, approx. 516 people
Diyala: 6,216 families, approx. 37,296 people
Karbala: 297 families, approx. 1,782 people
Maysan: 626 families, approx. 3,756 people
Muthanna: 26 families, approx 156 people
Najaf: 102 families, approx. 612 people
Ninewa: 605 families, approx. 3,630 people
Qadisiyah: 24 families, approx. 144 people
Salahaddin: 96 families, approx. 576 people
Tamim: 165 families, approx. 990 people
Wasit: 120 families, approx. 720 people
TOTAL: 38,401 families, approx. 230,406 people, 5% of total number of refugees
There were no returnees to the three Kurdish provinces of Dohuk, Irbil and Sulaymaniyah
Agence France Presse, “Iraqi army destroys Baghdad squatter camp,” 11/13/08
CNN, “UN Gears Up for Return of Displaced Iraqis,” 12/4/08
Ministry of Displacement and Migration & International Organization for Migration, “Returnee Monitoring and Needs Assessments Tabulation Report,” September 2008
Sands, Phil, “Displaced Iraqis at point of no return,” The National, 12/2/08
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