ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Just over 1.5 million civilians who have fled their homes to escape violence and instability in recent years currently reside in the Kurdistan Region, the latest official numbers released by the Kurdistan Reginal Government (KRG) show. In a report published Tuesday, the KRG said it needs close to $2 billion yearly to sustain aid to both refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“The KRG is host of 249,293 Syrian, 9,080 Turkish, 13,071 Iranian, and 752 Palestinian refugees,” a report by KRG’s Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC) read, indicating little to no change compared to numbers from last year.
The JCC is part of the KRG Ministry of Interior and is tasked with coordinating all matters related to crisis management and response in the Kurdistan Region.
“50 percent of the total displaced population live in Erbil, 31 percent in Duhok, and 19 percent in [Sulaimani],” where most, about 73 percent, live within “host communities.” The the rest reside in 38 refugee and IDP camps or informal settlements.
The report added that 668,385 IDPs and 128,505 refugees were in Erbil, 379,316 IDPs and 88,447 refugees in Duhok, and 189,476 IDPs and 32,341 refugees in Sulaimani.
The JCC says that the Kurdistan Region “has received and helped the vulnerable people without any discrimination and prejudice, and thus, the displaced people in Kurdistan are from various sects, ethnicities, religious backgrounds such as 40 percent are Sunni Arabs, 30 percent are Yezidis, 13 percent are Kurds, 7 percent are Christians, and 10 percent are Shia, Turkmen, or Shabaks and others.”
Displacement continued into 2019, it added, with people still being “compelled to leave their areas for security, livelihood, and economic reasons and come to the Kurdistan [Region].”
The influx of migrants has compounded the region’s financial strains, which include funding the fight against Islamic State, cuts to the region’s share of the national budget, a sluggish economy, and a general lack of economic security.
According to the report, the KRG “needs at least $1.9 billion yearly to provide the basic civic services and meet the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq."
Editing by John J. Catherine