Erbil – Five years after the start of the ISIL crisis in Iraq, more than 1.8 million people remain displaced.
While most internally displaced persons (IDPs) living outside of camps initially saw their living conditions improve in the years immediate after displacement, now many live in a state of limbo – often working in the informal labour sector, still crowding extended families into small living spaces and relying on funds from family members or government pensions.
These are the findings of the latest round of an ongoing, multi-year study the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Georgetown University have conducted with nearly 4,000 internally displaced families living out of camps.
Access to Durable Solutions: Three Years in Displacement is the report being released today (12/02), the third round of the survey since the IOM/Georgetown study began in 2015.
Each year, IOM enumerators conduct interviews with the families on eight criteria that contribute to what the humanitarian community has defined as durable solutions for IDPs: safety and security, living standards, employment, housing, family separation and reunification, documentation, participation in public affairs and access to justice.
“These IDP families have found ways to meet their basic needs, but they have done so by lowering their standards of living or depending on others by borrowing money and receiving aid or charity,” said Georgetown University Professor Rochelle Davis.
“Over time, we see that people are surviving, but primarily by resorting to these short-term or crisis-driven solutions rather than long-term, sustainable solutions,” she continued.
The study also shows that the sense of safety and security among IDPs has significantly increased in the past three years and more people claim to have confidence in state-run institutions to pursue and achieve justice, rather than tribal or religious authorities.
Interestingly, throughout their time in displacement, IDPs have increased their participation in both civic groups and local reconciliation initiatives in their areas of displacement but overall participation remains low (an increase of 4 per cent to 13 per cent).
In contrast, among the returnees surveyed in this same study, 20 per cent participate in local reconciliation efforts in their areas of origin.
The study also indicates that 75 per cent of IDPs live in rented accommodation throughout their period of displacement.
“While approximately four million IDPs have returned to areas of origin, or have moved to other locations, about 1.8 million remain displaced.
They have proven to be highly resilient yet remain vulnerable and in need of continued support from the humanitarian community,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission.
A displaced father from Ramadi, Anbar Governorate, now living in Basra who participated in the study said: “My situation improved a lot in the past five months because I became known for being a professional carpenter.
This has supported my family’s income.
Before finding this work, we had no new clothes, no education, and sometimes no healthcare.
Therefore, in these times we are blessed with enough income to provide our basic needs.”
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For more information please contact:
Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: email@example.com