Asked about the current humanitarian situation in Iraq, he offered a grim picture, describing it as “still a dire situation.”
“At the height of the conflict” with the Islamic State, some six million people were displaced, he explained.
“That number has dwindled down to 1.8 million” at present.
“But the rate of return has leveled out in recent months,” because of the “upsurge in terrorist activities by ISIS and some of the rogue militia groups that belong to the Popular Mobilization Forces, the Hashd al-Shaabi.” They have created “insecurity in some of the disputed areas and in the Sunni regions.”
Currently, the Kurdistan Region hosts over one million IDPs and refugees.
Of that total, 765,000 are IDPs, and the largest plurality—about 40%—are Sunni Arabs.
Some 30% are Yezidis, Barwari continued, “about 13% are Kurds, 7% are Christians, and the rest—about 10%—are Turkmens and other minorities.”
Of the 275,000 refugees in the Kurdistan Region, the overwhelming majority—250,000—are Syrians, but “we also have thousands of Kurds from Turkey and Kurds from Iranian Kurdistan” as well.
In Iraq as a whole, there is a “huge gap” between the humanitarian needs and the funding available to address them.
A 2018 assessment, conducted by the Iraqi government and analyzed by the World Bank, estimated it would take over 10 years to rebuild Iraq and cost some $88 billion, Barwari explained.
But “more than two years have passed since ISIS was territorially defeated, and Mosul, Sinjar, and most of the disputed areas in the Nineveh Plains are still destroyed,” he continued.
“So I would say that ten years is a conservative figure.
It will probably take a lot longer” to rebuild those areas.
“There was a donor conference in 2018 in Kuwait,” he said.
Some “$30 billion was pledged to Iraq, but not much of that has materialized.”
“Many of the international organizations have discontinued their programs,” Barwari explained, “and that has obviously affected the livelihoods of the IDPs and refugees, and the host communities as well.”