The war against the Islamic State that started in 2014 caused the second major displacement of Iraqis since 2003. Over 5 million people left their homes. Now that the conflict is over, more and more people are returning.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) counted 3,635,598 people had returned to their homes. From February 28 to March 31 123,996 people went back, a 4% increase from the previous period. A total of 1,279,740 people have returned to Ninewa, 1,235,514 in Anbar, 511,386 in Salahaddin, 273,612 in Kirkuk, 219,666 in Diyala, and 76,644 in Baghdad. Ninewa had the most displaced and now has the most returns as well. Most people in Anbar were heading back to the west, which was the last part of the province liberated from the insurgents. In Salahaddin, Shirqat in the north and Baiji in the east saw the most returns, while in Kirkuk almost all those going back were to Hawija in the south.
There are still 2,205,252 people displaced. 665,910 of those are in Ninewa, 354,432 in Dohuk, 232,164 in Irbil, 205,182 in Salahaddin, 165,630 in Sulaymaniya, 146,202 in Kirkuk, 128,064 in Baghdad, 84,552 in Anbar, 78,054 in Diyala, 36,900 in Najaf, 34,680 in Karbala, 27,978 in Babil, 13,926 in Qadisiya, 13,680 in Wasit, 8,496 in Basra, 4,476 in Dhi Qar, 3,126 in Maysan, and 1,800 in Muthanna.
57% of the displaced, 1,262,406 are from Ninewa. That’s followed by 302,952 from Salahaddin, 293,898 from Anbar, 184,500 from Kirkuk, 90,000 from Diyala, 34,440 from Babil, 29,112 from Baghdad, and 7,944 from Irbil. Southern Irbil was attacked by the Islamic State from Ninewa, while the rest had sizeable territory seized by the militants.
As more time passes more people will go home. IOM has warned that a sizeable population however may remain displaced. This includes families of IS members, those that lack money, people who lost their homes, and others that decide to settle in the areas they fled to. After the civil war, over one million people never went back, and something similar could happen this time as well.
International Organization for Migration, “Displacement Tracking Matrix DTM Round 92,” 4/19/18
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