Nearly 1,6 million refugees have taken shelter in Kurdish controlled areas since 2013. Photo by Farzin Hassan/Rudaw
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region — There will be at least five new camps in the outskirts of Duhok city as the province prepares for a second wave of refugees which are predicted to flee Mosul ahead of the looming operation to drive out ISIS militants.
The new camps will be built outside the city center and closer to Mosul province in areas that are beyond the administration of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) but patrolled by its Peshmarga units.
“The plan is to make sure the refugees receive the help and accommodation they desperately will need but also to reduce the total number of refugees in the city itself which is now nearly equal to the number of original inhabitants in Duhok,” said Rudaw correspondent Sleman Alikhan.
Over 600,000 refugees have taken shelter since 2013 in Duhok city with has a population of about 800,000. Most of the refugees come from ISIS-held territories in central Iraq but many are also from neighboring Syria and Turkey who sought refuge in Kurdistan after clashes broke out.
Provincial authorities have said the influx of the refugees has created an unprecedented pressure on basic services in the city, especially clean water and electricity. Authorities also fear breakout of epidemics as hot weather sweeps across the region pushing temperatures well over 50°C.
Most of the refugees are Arab families who could according to constitution choose to settle in the new Kurdish areas and effectively change the demographic makeup of the cities.
Nearly 1,6 million refugees have taken shelter in Kurdish controlled areas since 2013 and towns like Shaqlawa now has almost as many refugees as inhabitants.