The European Union has provided an additional EUR 2 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Iraq to make critical infrastructure improvements in camps for internally displaced persons, according to a June 14 press release from the IOM. With this funding, the E.U. has allocated EUR 5 million to the IOM in Iraq this year so far.
In coordination with Iraq’s government and local authorities, the additional funding will be used to improve the living conditions of camp residents. Along with working to make improvements in the camps, IOM will work to revitalize roads and drainage systems in three of the Jad’ah camps. These camps are located near Mosul, in the Ninewa governorate in northern Iraq.
The majority of camps in Iraq are in the districts of Hatra, Mosul, Al-Ba’aj and Telafar in the Ninewa governorate. They are currently home to over 8,600 households, roughly 35,000 people. These families are among the most vulnerable in Iraq, and their return to their home areas is highly unlikely in the near future, according to the press release.
Their return is unlikely for several reasons, including limited employment access and economic opportunities, ongoing insecurity, very limited basic services in their hometowns and damage to their houses.
Iraqi authorities have put about 1.8 million IDPs in a purgatory system that prevents them from returning home, imprisons them in camps, and forces them to endure dire conditions that portend bleak futures for their children. @belkiswille @HRW https://t.co/cnRyUYM9t2
— Bill Frelick (@BillFrelick) June 14, 2019
Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said while many displaced families have been able to return, those who remain in camps should not be forgotten.
“Ensuring that those displaced by fighting have access to humanitarian assistance remains a priority for the E.U. in Iraq,” he said.
A large number of the displaced people fled to camps developed by IOM and other humanitarian groups in Iraq. However, since the most displaced people moved in during the height of the 2014-2017 crisis in Islamic State conflicts, many of the camps were built quickly because of the pressing circumstances. Because of this, the camps’ infrastructure has significantly worsened over time.
The conditions in many of the Jad’ah camps have worsened over the last year due to limited investments and typical wear-and-tear, the press release said. The wear-and-tear comes naturally, according to Gerard Waite, the IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, because most of the camps were not built to last as long as they have. Now, the Ja’dah camps need more upkeep and improvements.
This contribution from the E.U., along with its previous allocation of EUR 3 million, is being used to begin vital maintenance activities across the country and to replace basic household items for individuals and families in the camps. These “basic relief kits” will include newer kitchen sets, blankets, and mattresses.
The additional funding from the E.U. has enabled IOM to provide much-needed support in some of the most populated Jad’ah camps. These camps are housing the most vulnerable families that have been displaced with no immediate prospect of returning to their homes.
According to IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, more than 1.6 million Iraqi people continue to be displaced after the conflict with the Islamic State. Of the families and individuals that have been displaced, over 4.2 million have been able to return to their homes.