2.5 MILLION People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance UN – March 2022
961,000 Number of People in Acute Need UN – March 2022
1.2 MILLION Estimated Number of People Internally Displaced in Iraq IOM – December 2022
178,691 Number of Internally Displaced People Residing in Camps CCCM – November 2022
258,541 Number of Syrian Refugees in Iraq UNHCR – December 2022
• Approximately 98 percent of IDPs sheltering in Iraq’s 26 remaining formal camps do not intend to return to their areas of origin or other locations in the country through July 2023, according to a REACH survey.
• Host community members, IDPs, and returnee households lack access to basic services and civil documentation in Iraq, according to regular monitoring conducted by IRC.
Returnee Populations Face Severe Living Conditions in Iraq
Of the nearly 5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have returned to areas of origin or other locations in Iraq since March 2014, nearly 600,000—approximately 12 percent of Iraq’s returnee population—reside in locations where they face severe living conditions characterized by limited basic services and livelihood opportunities, ongoing insecurity, and perceived issues of safety and social cohesion, according to an assessment conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) between July and September 2022. The number of returnees reporting poor or severe living conditions during this period increased by nearly 17,500 people compared to the January–March period when IOM last conducted the survey. The assessment identified poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and diminishing public water supply, particularly in Anbar Governorate, as the main drivers of the deterioration in living conditions. Ninewa and Salah al-Din governorates continued to host the highest number of returnees reporting severe living conditions, with nearly 256,600 returnees and more than 210,800 returnees, respectively, while the three districts reporting the most severe conditions were all found in Salah al-Din Governorate, according to IOM.
The majority of IDPs sheltering in the 26 remaining formal camps across Iraq’s Dohuk, Erbil, Ninewa, and Sulaimaniya governorates—approximately 98%—do not intend to return to their areas of origin between July 2022 and July 2023, according to an intentions survey conducted by REACH in July 2022 and published in November. Despite this, 58 percent of the IDPs surveyed in Erbil and 75 percent of those surveyed in Dohuk and Sulaimaniya reported that they do intend to return to their areas of origin at some point. IDPs cited damaged shelters in areas of origin, lack of livelihood opportunities, limited financial resources, and persistent insecurity as the primary impediments to return.
Communities in Iraq Lack Access to Basic Services, Civil Documentation
Host community, IDP, and returnee populations lack access to basic services, such as education, health, and shelter support, and face difficulties navigating the legal processes to acquire civil documentation, according to a report released by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in mid-January. Nearly 85 percent of households assessed between July and September 2022 reported difficulties in accessing basic services, with many citing high costs as the main barrier. Moreover, nearly 15 percent of households reported one or more members in need of civil documentation, which is required to access basic services and compensation for losses suffered during the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Barriers to acquiring civil documentation include government corruption, harassment— particularly for women and girls—during travel to legal offices, high fees and travel costs to access legal services, lack of awareness of legal procedures, and negative treatment of households with a perceived affiliation to ISIS, according to USAID/BHA sources.
Iraq’s Ministry of Education Plans Permanent Closure of IDP Schools in IKR
In early December 2022, Iraq’s Minister of Education Ebrahim Namis al-Jibouri announced the planned closure of all schools established for IDPs in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) by June 2023. The school closures will hinder access to education for many of the estimated 170,000 IDP students who mainly reside outside of camps and are originally from the conflict-affected governorates of Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa, and Salah al-Din. The decision will likely prompt students to drop out of school or travel to their areas of origin to attend schools, many of which are overcrowded or offer limited services, according to U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (State/PRM) sources.