An IDP child at Hassan Sham camp. Photo by Farzin Hassan / Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Humanitarian organizations estimate as many as 8.7 million people across Iraq will require some form of assistance over the course of 2018 – the majority of them in Nineveh, Kirkuk and Anbar.
“Nearly 80 percent of the population requiring assistance are concentrated in Nineveh, Kirkuk and Anbar governorates,” reads a report published Wednesday by the World Food Programme’s logistics cluster.
“Nineveh remains the epicenter of the crisis: of the 46 percent of the Iraqis who need assistance, four million people live in Nineveh,” the report says.
More than half of Iraq’s 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) come from Nineveh province where Mosul is the largest city.
“The major constraints on humanitarian organizations’ ability to respond to the needs of affected populations throughout Iraq continue to be: inconsistent access due to insecurity, a rapidly changing security situation and an unstable operational context,” the report adds.
A year on from the liberation of Mosul, the devastated city remains the most pressing humanitarian concern.
ISIS seized the city on June 10, 2014 during the militants’ lightning campaign across northern Iraq. The offensive to retake the city began at dawn on October 17, 2016 – an urban battle on a scale the world had not seen since World War Two. The entire city was finally declared liberated on July 9, 2017.
A year on, bodies are still buried under the rubble of the historic Old City.
Although Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the defeat of ISIS in Iraq in December 2017, remnants of the group are still active in Anbar, particularly on the Iraqi-Syrian border. Sleeper cells have also awoken in the disputed territories, such as Kirkuk, Saladin and Diyala, leaving civilians vulnerable and disrupting humanitarian efforts.
Although their numbers are falling, there are still up to 1.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps, predominantly in northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. Aid groups are continuing to facilitate these camps and help IDPs reestablish their shattered communities.