ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Tuesday said there were around 1.4 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees currently residing in the Kurdistan Region.
In an interview with the KRG website, Hoshang Mohamed, the Director General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC), said the Kurdistan Region is currently hosting 30 percent of Iraqi IDPs and 98 percent of Syrian refugees—about 1.4 million people in total.
Mohamed said the return of displaced persons to liberated areas has been slow due to a lack of policies and plans by the Iraqi government to support a voluntary return.
“Of the 250,000 Mosul IDPs who have been residing in the Kurdistan Region, 50 percent have returned to their areas,” Mohamed noted, warning of a reverse displacement from the liberated areas to Kurdistan.
According to the JCC data, since the beginning of 2018, 4,500 IDPs had left Mosul for camps in the Kurdistan Region.
“The lack of security, stability, threats by the militia groups, the lack of a strong administration and services, as well as terrorist activities in the liberated areas are the main reasons behind the reverse displacement of IDPs,” Mohamed explained.
He criticized the Iraqi government for not having a comprehensive, national plan and policy to work with the KRG, UN agencies, and the governorates to facilitate the process of displaced persons returning home.
The KRG official praised the role of UN agencies as well as international and local NGOs in supporting the IDPs, calling on donor countries to provide continued financial assistance.
“Out of over 1.4 million IDPs and refugees, 240,000 of them are from Syria who reside in refugee camps in Erbil, Duhok, and Sulaimani as well as other host communities,” Mohamed stated.
He also revealed that 12 families consisting of 60 people had arrived in the Kurdistan Region from Afrin due to the Turkish military operation in the Syrian Kurdish enclave.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany