|(International Organization for Migration)|
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
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
Displaced By Province
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