(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Funds urgently needed for displaced, aid workers say

[Iraq] Displaced people are recieving less assistance from aid agencies each day. [Date picture taken: 01/30/2007]
Afif Sarhan/IRIN

A report released on Tuesday said that 1.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq lack basics such as drinking water, sanitation, health and education facilities, in addition to food and non-food items. Yet funding allocated for the displaced is falling.

Entitled ‘Iraq Displacement 2006 Year in Review’, the report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that the most urgent needs for IDPs in Iraq are food, water, shelter and employment.

“The increase in the number of IDPs has led to chaos in trying to meet their needs. Dozens of local and international NGOs are encountering difficulties in helping displaced families for various reasons, including lack of security and funds,” said Mowafaq Abdel-Raoof, spokesman for the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

The majority of IDPs were displaced before the US-led invasion of the Iraq in 2003, as a result of three decades of conflict, United Nations-imposed sanctions and the policies of the former government of the late president Saddam Hussein. However, people continue to be displaced on a daily basis in Iraq due to the ongoing conflict and sectarian violence in many parts of the country.

“Most of them are living in public buildings, camps or with host communities throughout Iraq,” the IOM report said.

''Sometimes I ask myself if it was not better to die than to live like a Bedouin all my life.''


With donor support, IOM has been carrying out four main activities in central and southern Iraq: supporting the implementation of Community Assistance Projects for IDPs and their host communities; assessing and monitoring IDP movements; assessing the needs of IDPs and finding durable solutions; and providing emergency food and non-food items to the most vulnerable.

Abdel-Raoof and local NGOs urged international donors to become more committed to helping solve the growing problem of displacement in Iraq.

“People are suffering and displacement is happening on a daily basis in every province in Iraq. The needs are increasing and we are having difficulties coping with all requirements. We urge international donors and communities to increase their budgets to this sector, which is so delicate and important in Iraq,” Abdel-Raoof said.

Many displaced families are finding they have to keep packing up and moving to other locations as violence spreads to different areas. They are fed up with this constant upheaval and the uncertainty of not knowing what will become of them.

“We were forced to leave our house six months ago and since then we have moved more than eight times. Sectarian violence has now reached even the displacement camps but we are tired of running away. Sometimes I ask myself if it was not better to die than to live like a Bedouin all my life,” said Abu Mustafa, 56, a Baghdad resident who was first displaced in August 2006.

as/ar/ed

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