The Domiz camp for Syrian refugees in Dohuk, Kurdistan Region-Iraq

Humanitarian situation Displaced people in the Region of Kurdistan-Iraq

According to the United Nations, starting in 2014, around six million people were displaced by the armed conflict in Iraq. About 4.87 million of these displaced persons have meanwhile returned to their home regions. 

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) puts the number of internally displaced persons and returnees who need assistance at 4.1 million. About 1.5 million of these people are acutely dependent on humanitarian assistance. According to OCHA, Iraq will need 607.2 million US dollars (as at: March 2021) to fund the support they need.

Furthermore, there are about 246,000 refugees (as at: April 2021) from Syria who have fled to Iraq. Most of them – like many of the internally displaced persons – have found refuge in the autonomous Region of Kurdistan-Iraq. The Kurdistan Regional Government and the local people are making massive efforts to rise to these challenges.

A family in the Shariya refugee camp, a shelter for Yazidi IDPs in Dohuk, Kurdistan-Iraq.

A family in the Shariya refugee camp, a shelter for Yazidi IDPs in Dohuk, Kurdistan-Iraq

A family in the Shariya refugee camp, a shelter for Yazidi IDPs in Dohuk, Kurdistan-Iraq

Given the unstable political conditions, the high level of destruction that has taken place and the lack of economic prospects for them, it is to be expected that it will be some time before the remaining internally displaced persons return to their home regions. The Syrian refugees are also unlikely to be returning to their homes any time soon, since the civil war in Syria is still continuing. This means that the Region of Kurdistan-Iraq will remain dependent on international support.

As a country rich in resources, Iraq has a fundamental responsibility to increasingly take charge of its own reconstruction and reform. However, in order for that to happen, national and local authorities will need to be much better supplied with funds and staff, and effective measures to fight corruption will have to be put in place.