OCHA and IOM Release Worrisome News About Minorities In Iraq

July 29, 2014 at 4:55 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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Turkmen refugees unpo

Photo of internally displaced Turkmens: Can Hasasu

OCHA and IOM Release Worrisome News About Minorities In Iraq


Since the outbreak of the Iraqi crisis, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has produced several situation reports on the increasingly severe internal displacement in the country. The latest report was published on 18 July 2014, and developed in cooperation with humanitarian partners. Moreover, the International Organization for Migration has been updating a so called ‘Displacement Tracking Matrix’ to share baseline information on displaced populations and their conditions in Iraq. Both reports highlight the serious and life-threatening conditions that are faced by civilians, including vulnerable groups, in Iraq under the attacks of the terrorist group the Islamic State (IS).


The armed conflict started in Anbar governorate of Iraq in January 2014, and the recent attacks by the Islamic State (IS) which started with the seizure of Mosul have carried the threat faced by the civilian population to a more serious level and the large-scale killings, injuries, and destruction and damage of livelihoods and property have been deteriorating since. The violence quickly spread to other areas and resulted in a dangerous instability in Northern Iraq. The consequences of the attacks and the current situation have been observed and reported by different organizations mandated to ensure the protection and respond to the basic humanitarian needs of civilians affected and displaced by the conflict.
The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix has released some striking figures emphasising the deteriorating situation for minority groups in Iraq. Focus has been on vulnerable groups such as minority groups, women, children, people with disabilities and elderly in order to provide information for organizing a systematic help and support mechanism to the area in the Matrix.

Fleeing persecution and violence from the Islamic State (IS), in June and July alone 408,294 people have been forced to flee their homes. Nineveh and Saladin Provinces, which are the ancestral home of many of Iraq’s minority groups, have been particularly affected by the ongoing crisis. In fact, 89% of the total number of migrants and displaced persons in June and July used to reside in Nineveh and Saladin. As a result, many minority groups in Iraq have suffered disproportionately. Among those particularly suffering from this crisis are the Assyrians and Iraqi Turkmen. Tens of thousands of Iraqi Turkmen have been forced to flee their homes in the Telafar and Sinjar districts of Nineveh since the IS brought the conflict to Mosul in early June. It is reported that Shiite Turkmen are fleeing to Shiite majority areas of Iraq, while Sunni Turkmen are returning home, risking the fragmentation of the Iraqi Turkmen.

The report also evidences the many hardships that are faced by the growing number of displaced people in northern Iraq. Concentrated mostly in Nineveh, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah districts, 10,422 families are currently reported as living in vulnerable shelters, such as camps or abandoned buildings. A majority of displaced people have found temporary shelter staying with relatives (31%), while others have been hosted by churches and mosques. The report states that the internally displaced people have prioritized non-food items as their most urgent need (82% of those surveyed), followed by food items (55%), health and child care (21%) and shelter (16%). Over 24,000 families are not able to access enough food and water. Those living in camps are the most vulnerable, with inadequate shelter, insufficient amounts of food and water and little to no access to healthcare and sanitation. Only 8% of 68,049 displaced families are reported to have received any sort of assistance.

Iraq IDP Crisis Situation Report No. 3, published by OCHA on 18 July 2014 underlines the challenges threatening the IDPs who are still on the move across Iraq. As of 14 July, humanitarian actors had provided food to more than 153,470 people; clean water to some 235,000; non-food items (NFI) to over 74,000 and hygiene kits to 37,000 individuals. Medical supplies, medicines and mobile clinics reached 316,500 people and some 1,250 women received dignity kits. The disruption of the public distribution system is threatening food security for many. Yet still there are almost 60,000 IDPs in need of shelter and non-food items. Acute water shortages are reported across northern Iraq as impacting both IDPs and host families.

OCHA reports the number of IDP locations in Iraq as 1,231. Thousands of IDPs are observed as heading to Najaf, Karbala and other southern areas, yet the ability to transit to these areas still remains a challenge. Rapid response to people on the move, particularly those delayed at checkpoints, remains a critical gap. OCHA underlines the need for a timely information sharing mechanism to allow the humanitarian community to reach beneficiaries in a complex and rapidly evolving security situation.

To read the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix [16 July 2014], please click here .
To read OCHA Iraq IDP Crisis Situation Report [18 July 2014], please click here .
Photo of internally displaced Turkmens: Can Hasasu
– See more at: http://www.unpo.org/article/17366#sthash.coQxpCT3.dpuf



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