ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has revealed that the influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees since 2014 has increased the Kurdistan Region’s population by 32 percent.
The KRG’s Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) in its November report stated that the quick rise of the Kurdistan Region population has heavily strained the KRG as the government spends nearly two billion dollars on IDPs and refugees annually.
The JCC estimates the yearly cost for IDPs and refugees in the Kurdistan Region at two billion US dollars, stating that “the international community covers only approximately 25 percent [of that spending] through UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations.”
“The remaining 75% is shouldered by the KRG and host communities despite the deep financial crisis affecting the region since 2014,” the JCC report explained.
According to the report, the daily cost of each displaced person in the Kurdistan Region to cover basic needs such as shelter, security, water and sanitation, electricity, health, and education, as well as the administration and management of the camps is around USD 3,7.
The report, entitled 'KRG’s Humanitarian Leadership in Sheltering and Assisting Refugees and IDPs' highlights the Kurdistan Region’s leadership in welcoming and sheltering displaced people despite the economic and political crises that the region had first faced in the 1990s.
The report outlines several waves of displacement inside Iraq and from the neighboring countries into the Kurdistan Region since the 1990s as the Region received millions of IDPs and refugees.
The Kurdistan Region received thousands of refugees from Syria, Turkey, and Iran in 1990s with 40,000 of them still residing in the Region.
Between 2003 and 2010, the Region received 810,000 displaced people fleeing violence in their areas in Iraq, with 24 percent of them Sunni Arabs, 36 percent Kurds, and 25 percent Christians. The remaining were from other ethnic and religious backgrounds such as Ezidis and Turkmen.
From 2011 onward, 250,000 Syrian refugees fled to the Region, where 40 percent of them reside in nine refugee camps in the Erbil, Duhok, and Sulaimani governorates. Local communities host the rest.
In 2014, with the rise of the Islamic State (IS), over three million Iraqis were displaced, of which approximately 1.8 million fled to the Kurdistan Region.
The fifth wave of displacement into the Kurdistan Region was after the Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia attacked Kirkuk and other disputed areas, resulting in the displacement of more than 160,000 people to the Region’s other cities.
Editing by Nadia Riva