Kurdistan “a Refuge from Iraq’s Violence”

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the United Nations (UN) continue to make a concerted effort to track and monitor displacement throughout the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I).

According to the Kurdish Ministry of Planning and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 47 per cent of all Iraq’s over 2 million displaced are now in KR-I. The rest of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are spread throughout Iraq having fled conflicts in Anbar, Ninewa, Diyala and Salah al-Din governorates.

As people continue to flee the violence, the latest count indicates that some 946,266 Iraqis (157,711 families) have sought sanctuary in the region since the beginning of the year. This represents an increase of 53,526 individuals since 1 September.

Through the protection and assistance of the KRG, the majority of these displaced – 60 per cent – are in Dahuk Governorate, followed by Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

“The hosting of IDPs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is placing a huge burden both on the region’s social services, as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government’s financial resources, which is becoming unsustainable. According to the Constitution of Iraq the responsibility for internally displaced populations rests with the Government of Iraq,” Dr Ali Sindi, the KRG Planning Minister, said.

The latest waves of IDPs to the KR-I join about 225,000 refugees to the region escaping the nearly four year-long Syrian civil war. The majority of Syrian refugees in Iraq, about 90 per cent, have fled to the KR-I.

Over 20,000 refugees have arrived since 10 October after the opening of the Turkish and KR-I border. There is a concern that the latest influx of Syrian refugees has not had adequate immunization coverage and could import the wild polio virus to the region. The refugee population is also adding to the region’s already stretched health infrastructure.

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