As Mosul displacement continues, UNHCR opens new camps, expands appeal

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Displaced Iraqi children bring relief items to their shelter in Hasansham (Iraq) in October 2016.   © UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

As displacement from Western Mosul continues unabated, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is opening two new camps and asking donors for additional funding to help protect and shelter those forced to flee.

Around 255,000 people have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since October, including over 100,000 since the latest military campaign in western Mosul began on 19 February. The last week has seen the highest level of displacement yet, with 32,000 displaced between March 12 and 15.

For 2017, UNHCR needs USD 212 million, currently barely funded, to continue providing urgent assistance to IDPs from Mosul and for Iraqis who have crossed to Syria. The appeal includes a new request for an additional USD 7 million in the next 10 days and USD 30 million in the next two months, totaling USD 37 million.

UNHCR’s new Hasansham U2 camp, east of Mosul, is ready to shelter 3,000 people from this weekend, before expanding to 9,000, while Hammam al-Alil 2, 25kms south of Mosul, will be ready to receive 6,600 people on Monday and will have capacity for 30,000 when complete. 

UNHCR continues to advocate with the Iraqi Security Forces and authorities for newly displaced people from western Mosul to be taken to camps east and north of the city, where there is capacity. We anticipate that IDPs will begin to be transported to camps in the north this week.

For several days, arrivals at the screening site at Hammam al-Alil have averaged 15,000 a day, with Iraqi Ministry of Transport buses bringing IDPs daily. UNHCR is doubling the capacity of the adjacent reception and transit centre from 20,000 to 40,000 to try to ensure a safe, relatively comfortable transit to other camps with capacity, as Hammam al-Alil 1 camp is now full. Protection partners are present at the site to identify and assist vulnerable IDPs, including separated families and unaccompanied children. New arrivals have been given the options of going to Gogjali, east of Mosul, Qayyarah, or other IDP camps, including the recently opened UNHCR Chamakor camp, now full to its 12,000 capacity after just one week. 

While thousands displaced from western Mosul continue to arrive at the Hammam Al-Alil screening site, arrivals have slowed down in some of the camps receiving those fleeing western Mosul, suggesting that out-of-camp displacement is increasing. 

Reports indicate some people are moving in with friends and family in east Mosul, finding shelter in tribal communities and squatting in unfinished buildings in southern and eastern Ninewa. The extent of out-of-camp displacement is still to be confirmed. Humanitarian partners are liaising with local authorities in east Mosul to identify the locations of IDPs who don’t live in camps and prioritize protection and assistance needs. UNHCR is prepared to support emergency shelter needs in urban locations and offer flexible solutions for up to 50,000 IDPs. Emergency relief items have been distributed in various locations around Mosul.

Another UNHCR camp at As Salamiyah 2, south east of Mosul, with capacity for up to 60,000 people, is being planned. UNHCR currently has 10 camps operating or under construction to host up to 111,000 people. 

 

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