Over 5.4 Million Iraqis Displaced Since 2014, Says U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator
More than 5.4 million civilians have been displaced in Iraq since the Islamic State (ISIS) fight began in 2014, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq said.
Coordinator, Lise Grande, said on Monday (October 9) millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been helped to safety and protected by the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Grande added humanitarian partners are concerned about the safety of the civilian population in and around Hawija, although fighting is ending.
“Nothing is more important than protecting the civilians who have been impacted by the conflict,” Grande said. “International humanitarian law is clear. Everything must be done to ensure people are safe and have access to the assistance they need.”
“Protection remains our over-riding concern. Humanitarians are deeply worried about incidents of collective punishment, restrictions on free movement, evictions, forced returns and sexual exploitation and violence, including in emergency sites and camps.”
Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement said on Thursday (October 5) the IDPs’ number has reached at least 9000 since the operation to liberate Hawija from ISIS started.
Hawija, located some 50 km southwest of the city of Kirkuk, became an ISIS stronghold when militants swept across northern and western Iraq in 2014.
ISIS overran much of northern and western Iraq beginning in June 2014, first taking over the country’s second-largest city, Mosul, and sparking a humanitarian crisis as residents fled from fighters. IDPs have slowly begun returning to their cities and towns as fighters are pushed out.