The Iraqi ministry of migration and displacement says it has facilitated the return of over 280 thousand internally displaced families to their areas of origin in the past two years, and announced plans to shut down all IDP camps across the country by the end of next year.
The Iraqi government declared final victory over the Islamic State (IS) group on December 10, 2017, yet thousands of families which fled their homes during the IS attacks have not returned to their homes after their areas were recaptured by Iraqi forces.
Jasim Atiyya, deputy minister of migration and displacement told state-run media that so far 280,000 displaced families have been returned to their home areas.
He indicated that “the number of the families remain in displacement does not exceed 63 thousand which are scattered in several provinces”, adding that “these families will be also urged to return so that all IDP camps would be closed down in 2020.”
In the past few months, the Iraqi government offered financial incentives and other facilitation to encourage the return of IDPs to their original provinces, eventually a number of IDP camps were shut down.
However, more than 700,000 displaced people remain in camps across the Kurdistan Region, most of them from Ninewa, according to statistics released by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCCC).
Jasim Atiyya said a greater number of displaced families have returned home in 2019 compared to previous years citing “stability and improvement in public services.”
The government’s efforts to send back IDPs home is at a time the majority of the areas recaptured from IS lack essential services after the immense damage inflicted on their infrastructure.
In mid-2014, IS swept through large swathes of Iraqi territories forcing nearly 6 million people to flee their homes. So far an estimated 4 million people have returned.