A year after the Iraqi government reclaimed control of Mosul from the Islamic State, about a third of the city’s internally displaced residents are at risk of facing a “second displacement” due to eviction, Norwegian Refugee Council spokesperson Tom Peyre-Costa told The Globe Post on Monday.
More than 380,000 people in and around Mosul are still displaced, and over 90 percent of the Western part of the city lies in ruins, according to a report issued from the NRC on Thursday.
With the majority of the city’s infrastructure yet to be repaired, unemployment rates remain high, and 32 percent of displaced families who have found permanent housing are at risk of being evicted, Peyre-Costa said.
“If evicted, [families] go in second displacement either back to IDP camps around Mosul, or they find another shelter out of the camps,” Peyre-Costa said. “It can be an abandoned house or any kind of shelter, most of the time with no access to basic services such as water, electricity etc.”
According to Peyre-Costa, about 11 percent of families in Mosul are currently living in abandoned, damaged or unfinished homes. For families who have found standard housing, the majority share homes with other families; on average three-per-household.
“Most of the time several families share the same home, even sometimes several families are crammed in one single room,” Peyre-Costa said.
The NRC estimates that the average cost of rent in Mosul is 140,000 Iraqi dinars or approximately 117 U.S. dollars-per-month. With over 80 percent of Mosul’s youth unemployed, many Mosul residents are finding it difficult to afford housing, Peyre-Costa said.
Besides squatting in abandoned homes, the only other recourse for evicted Mosul families is IDP camps with limited resources that are scattered around Ninewa province. The NRC operates a camp in Hammam al Aliel, and the United Nations and the Iraqi government operate four other camps in the region.
Between January and April, 6,736 new families arrived in IDP camps in and around Mosul, according to NRC data. About half of those families listed “no access to livelihood” or “no money to pay rent or purchase food” as their reason for residing in the camps.
Peyre-Costa said that the NRC is launching programs to help rebuild houses, schools and other infrastructure throughout Mosul. He said the organization is also funding efforts to train teachers and counsel children who have undergone trauma. But with limited resources, much of these tasks have fallen to the people of Mosul themselves, Peyre-Costa said.
“Most of the support comes from the people themselves,” the owner of a bakery in Western Mosul told the NRC.
In Thursday’s report, the NRC’s Iraq Country Director Wolfgang Gressmann slammed the international community for its “very nominal” response to the humanitarian situation in Mosul.
“It’s unthinkable that families who have been suffering for years under Islamic State group are now suffering because of the lack of international support,” Gressmann said. “Without financial support, Iraq will remain plagued by instability and despair.”