The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is working closely with authorities to support displaced people who are returning to Tikrit to rebuild their lives after the town was liberated from ISIL forces.
Government sources estimate that up to 1,500 families have returned to the town, which was occupied by ISIL from June 2014 until April 2015.
At the request of the Government of the Republic of Iraq, UNDP dispatched an expert team to help identify first priorities and work under the leadership of local authorities to stabilise conditions and prepare for the safe and voluntary returns of the tens of thousands of people who fled Tikrit when it was attacked and occupied by ISIL more than a year ago.
The UNDP assessment found that conditions are difficult in Tikrit. Buildings and infrastructure have been destroyed and few businesses are open. Returnees interviewed by UNDP have confirmed that their relatives and other families want to return to their homes but are waiting for basic services to be restored.
Returnees are also concerned about checkpoints and the presence of Popular Militia Forces. Many of those interviewed said that they look forward to the restoration of regular police forces.
Lise Grande, UNDP’s Resident Representative in Iraq, said:
“People from Tikrit have been displaced for nearly a year. They want to go home and start their lives again ….
“So much needs to be done to ensure that they are able to return in dignity. The electrical and water systems need to be repaired. Health centres need to be reconstructed. Bakeries need to be opened and businesses started. A huge amount of work is required.”
UNDP is supporting The Iraqi Government’s efforts to rapidly upgrade areas newly liberated from ISIL and help to prepare for the safe and voluntary return of displaced populations through a Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation. More than three million people have been displaced within Iraq since 2014.