Iraq - As winter approaches, IOM is scaling up operations to bring timely assistance to thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq. While assistance is being provided throughout the country, the highest priority is currently focused on central and northern Iraq, where the largest number of IDPs is living, and where the winter is coldest.
IOM is increasing the number of its Rapid Assessment and Response Teams (RARTs) to respond to the expanding IDP population and their growing needs. The total number of RART staff is being increased from 55 to over 120 across the country. RARTs are present in all 18 governorates to conduct assessments and distribute relief items.
IOM’s most recent Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), covering the period through late October, identified close to 1.9 million IDPs throughout the country. Displacement is ongoing in several governorates in the north, centre and central north.
Since January 2014 IOM has distributed over 50,000 full family non-food item (NFI) kits in response to the current crisis. Kits have been distributed throughout all 18 governorates.
IOM is currently distributing winterized NFI kits and tents to prepare IDPs for freezing temperatures. Since 11 October, over 14,000 winterized kits have been distributed across 10 governorates. Some 500 winterized tents have also been given to IDPs living in unfinished buildings and informal settlements in northern districts.
Current funding levels will enable IOM to provide an additional 27,000 winterized family NFI kits and 12,000 tents. More funding is being sought to meet the shelter needs of IDPs across the country.
Haider, a father of eight whose family was recently displaced to Summel in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq said: “We arrived here having fled to save our lives. We are concerned about our property in Sinjar, and fear that many buildings have been destroyed. We will return to Sinjar when it is safe but, until then, we must stay here and make the best of what we have. We are receiving food from the local authorities and local NGOs, but we are very concerned about the strong winds and rain that winter will bring. The tent that IOM provided will help us to cope with the harsh conditions and low temperatures, but we need all the support we can get.”
IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Displaced persons need immediate assistance to meet their basic needs for shelter and well-being. For displaced families, getting NFI kits makes a huge difference: it means that recipients are sleeping on a mattress rather than on the ground, and have a heater to stay warm. Getting a tent means critical protection from the elements. IOM is scaling up its efforts, but the needs far exceed our current funding. As displacement figures continue to increase, the international community needs to respond accordingly.”
As part of the UN Humanitarian Country Team, in 2014-2015 IOM aims to assist 750,000 IDPs affected by the current crisis in Iraq. IOM Iraq’s funding requirements are USD 295.5 million. The IOM Iraq Appeal, as part of the United Nations Strategic Response Plan, is currently only 27 per cent funded.
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