IDPs lack money and food amid coronavirus lockdown

Duhok, curfew imposed on Kabartu camp, March 2020. Photo: Ammar Aziz

Ammar Aziz- Duhok

A significant number of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) neither receive financial support nor food supplies from the organizations, while they lack money and face food shortage as well as are no longer able to go to work.

According to the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration decision, the IDP camps across the country will be placed under curfew to stop IDPs’ interactions with one another and to keep them in their tents, aiming at preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the camps.

Rasho Chuko, who is from Gr’oziri in Sinajr and has lived in Sharya camp in Duhok for five years, stated it has been two months since he has not received rice, sugar, and cooking oil. They have only been provided with flour, which is not good enough to make bread from.

“We are imprisoned and cannot go out, we have become jobless while working was the main source of money in our life,” he said, “I have ten children and do not know how to make a living, we are not snakes to eat dirt.”

Chuko explained that earlier every two months, individual IDPs received 11 thousand Iraqi dinars (9.1 dollars) from a company linked with the World Food Program (WFP), but now it has stopped, too.

“We at least could buy some goods with that money. Now we do not have that. Our situation is getting worse day after day. If the situation continues like that, a catastrophe will happen,” he added.

In the Kurdistan Region, the curfew has been extended until April 10, and it has been more than a month that the Bazaars, malls, and religious places have been closed due to the fear of the spread of coronavirus.


Nineveh, a health team, is spraying disinfection, March 2020. Photo: Ministry of Displacement and Migration Media 

Sahr Qwlw, who lives in Khanki camp in Duhok, used to work before the spread of coronavirus and earn 15 to 20 thousand IQD daily. “Now, we neither work nor do we receive financial support from the organizations to buy food and other necessities.”

This happens at a time when the Ministry of Displacement and Migration in its latest meeting decided to form a crisis cell to deliver assistance to the IDPs during the nationwide lockdown.

Ismail Mohammed, deputy governor of Duhok for IDPs affairs, stated, “we are aware of such problems, we have talked to the WFP and the aid distributor company so that we together find a solution to deliver the financial aid to the IDPs.”

He stated that the solution that the company has proposed is that their representatives can visit the camps and directly give the money to the families.

“There is also an attempt in cooperation with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration to deliver the food aid on time. Before the curfew, they had received food, and perhaps from now on, it might be delayed for a few days but they will receive the monthly food aid anyway,” Mohammed said.

Recently, the IDPs asked for cleaning supplies and medical materials through KirkukNow, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In the Iraqi provinces, including the Kurdistan Region, there are still 86 camps that house thousands of families, according to the statistics of the ministry.

As of now, no coronavirus case has been recorded in the IDP camps, and the government and the IDPs attempt to prevent the spread of the virus in the camps.

In Iraq, 965 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, among which 294 patients have recovered, and 61 have died, according to the statistics published by the ministry of health.

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