Millions of Iraqis have been forced to abandon their homes after decades of conflict and violence.
Terrified, many fled with just the clothes on their backs. Now, with their limited financial resources exhausted by basic accommodation and food, they are in desperate need of emergency aid.
Internally displaced Iraqi women and children walk down a rocky path into Debaga camp, near Mosul in northern Iraq. Over 60,000 people passed through the camp between April and October 2016 as they fled their homes in anticipation of heavy fighting in Mosul. Civilians who remain trapped in the city are of grave concern to UNHCR and we are preparing for a humanitarian emergency. ; Around 3.3 million Iraqis, some ten per cent of the population of Iraq, have fled their homes since fighting intensified in March 2014. With a military operation to retake Mosul beginning in October 2016, new camps have been quickly built by UN agencies in Iraq to accommodate some of the anticipated 1 million people likely to be displaced. Debaga camp, completed in late 2015 for an initial 3,000 people, quickly saw its population increase tenfold. The numbers are likely to continue rising.
“We had no choice other than to leave because it was not safe for our children. We left everything – our clothes, our furniture, even our food.”
Nafa Jihad, 40, father
More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced across the country since the start of 2014 and nearly 220,000 are refugees in other countries. Mass executions, systematic rape and horrendous acts of violence are widespread, and human rights and rule of law are under constant attack. By the end of 2016, it is estimated that over 11 million Iraqis may be in need of humanitarian assistance.
Almost 1.8 million Iraqis and Syrians have taken refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where an estimated 20 per cent of the population is displaced. Communities, authorities and infrastructure are at breaking point.
What is UNHCR doing to help?
UNHCR is on the ground in Iraq and surrounding regions, providing protection and life-saving aid such as tents, mattresses and other basic essentials. But as the situation worsens our supplies are running low.
Violence has displaced over a million people
4 million people of concern
3.4 million displaced inside Iraq