Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Displaced Returns Continue To Stagnate In Iraq


The number of displaced (IDPs) going back to their home areas
hit a new low in Iraq during the start of 2021. When the war against the Islamic State ended there was widespread hope that IDPs would immediately return and the crisis would largely be over. That’s not happened. Instead the country is experiencing something similar to what happened after the civil war with over one million likely to be permanently displaced.

 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the paramount group working with Iraq’s internal refugees. It recorded 1,205,767 people still displaced and 4,851,816 that had gone home as of February 2021.

 

Since 2019 the rate of return has steadily declined. The second half of 2020 was different because the Kazemi government was closing down IDP camps and forcing people out. As a result from July-August 2020 there were 25,920 returns going up to 38,364 from September-October and 49,152 from November-December. Most of the remaining camps are in the Kurdistan Regional Government and have not followed Baghdad’s orders. That meant from January-February 2021 only 20,250 IDPs went back for an average of just 10,125 per month down from 19,593 in 2020, 35,927 in 2019 and 78,746 per month in 2018. The IOM noted this was one of the lowest rates of return since 2015.

 

As usual the postwar provinces saw the majority of returns. Those were Ninewa with 15,204, Kirkuk with 1,788, Salahaddin with 1,254 and Anbar with 780.

 

The main reasons why people are not going back have also stayed the same. Those are the lack of services, jobs plus poor security in Baghdad and Diyala.

 

In addition there is still small scale displacement going on in Iraq. 1,062 people left their homes for the first time during January and February. Another 13,547 were displaced for a second time after they went home and left for mostly the same reasons why people are not going back.

 

Total Number of Displaced Returns 2018-2021

2018 944,958

2019 431,130

2020 235,116

2021 Jan-Feb 20,250

 

Avg 78,746 returns per month 2018

Avg 35,927 returns per month 2019

Avg 19,593 returns per month 2020

Avg 10,125 returns per month 2021

 

Main Provinces With Returns 

Province 

December 2020

Ninewa 

1,904,358

Anbar 

1,505,412

Salahaddin 

709,998

Kirkuk 

348,138

Diyala 

236,796

Baghdad 

91,404

Irbil 

54,942

Dohuk 

768 

 

Location of Displaced By Province 

Province 

Feb 2021

Ninewa 

260,218

Dohuk 

258,633

Irbil 

231,694

Sulaymaniya 

134,496

Kirkuk 

90,738

Salahaddin 

61,674

Diyala 

45,217

Anbar 

33,768

Baghdad 

25,595

Babil 

17,262

Karbala 

12,804

Najaf 

10,818

Basra 

5,928

Wasit

4,968

Qadisiya 

3,714

Dhi Qar 

3,270

Maysan 

2,040

Muthanna 

930

 

SOURCES

 

International Organization for Migration, “Iraq Master List Report 120,” April 2021

 

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