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(25/08/2017) According to the Iraqi government, its forces have recaptured Mosul. However, an end to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq is not in sight. The supply situation in the surrounding area and in the city itself is extremely difficult for the returnees. Hundreds of thousands civilians have fled from Mosul since the beginning of the operation in October 2016; around 841,000 Iraqis are currently verified as IDPs. Since January 2014, 3 million people have been internally displaced. Welthungerhilfe is working in the area, supporting refugees with the distribution of tarpaulins, food, water and sanitary items.
Fleeing from war and poverty
Iraq has once again become a country at war. Since the 'Islamic State' (IS) began its advance in the northwest of the country in August 2014, 3.2 million people have been driven out of their homes. Many of them were given shelter by host families, others live in camps, backyards or in basements. The burden weighs heavy on the population. Those who are fleeing suffer from a lack of food, drinking water, hygiene, medical treatment, clothing and blankets. They need education and work. Welthungerhilfe is offering support by distributing urgently needed goods.
However, after the developments of 2017, thousands of people can return to regions that have been recaptured from the IS, for example areas around Niniveh and the surroundings of Mosul. Now the destroyed infrastructure such as energy supply, schools and roads will have to be rebuilt. Many humanitarian aid measures are already lacking financing. The tasks at hand are extremely difficult.
Creating prospects for returnees
When refugees decide to return to their home town, they often have nothing to go back to. In the Niniveh Province, Welthungerhilfe and GIZ support returnees and the remaining population with "Cash for Work" measures. The project participants are actively involved in the reconstruction of infrastructure, whilst at the same time earning an income to the equivalent of 236 euros per assignment.
Various groups of the population are involved in the planning and can bring forward their individual needs. The aim is to reduce tensions among the various local populations and improve the sense of community.
How Welthungerhilfe is supporting refugees and returnees
Improvement of living situations of returnees, displaced persons and Syrian refugees in the north of the province of Niniveh, which was freed from the IS in 2015: supporting the reconstruction by rehabilitating basic infrastructure with the help of cash for work activities, focus on encouragement and restoration of social cohesion and peace among the different population groups.
Mosul: distribution of aid packages with blankets, mattresses, drinking water cans, cookware and plates, washing detergent, soap and other hygiene articles as well as a kerosene stove and a lamp in areas east of Mosul that have been recaptured by the IS. Families with children also receive baby kits containing towels, nappies, soap, baby shampoo and cream.
Access to clean water is a big issue in areas retaken by the IS. In a project funded by the Federal Foreign Office, Welthungerhilfe is active in the following areas: provision of water with the help of water trucks, repair and maintenance of water pipes, provision of emergency latrines, showers and sanitary facilities in schools, provision of generators, kerosene, chlorine and water filters, hygiene education, improvement of waste management.
Welthungerhilfe is furthermore preparing for a possible surge of refugees from the fought over city of Tal Afar. Storage for relief supplies has already been rented in Zummar, Ninewa Governorate, in order to get better access to the people.
Another BMZ funded project aims at improving access to water and reducing health risks due to pollution – repair and maintenance of water pipes and sewage systems, training in maintenance and management of water infrastructure and hygiene
Donors: GIZ, Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit (BMZ), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), World Food Programme (WFP)