Al-Qayara emergency site in Ninewa governorate, Iraq, constructed by IOM in cooperation with the Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoMD), is now hosting 18,543 individuals (3,224 families), all of whom fled their homes due to military operations in the Mosul corridor.
Since the emergency site opened in early December it has received almost daily arrivals from Mosul and adjacent districts in Ninewa governorate, Hawija district (Kirkuk governorate) and Shirqat (Salah al-Din governorate). IOM staff are setting up additional tents, delivering non-food item (NFI) kits, and providing psychosocial and health services, in cooperation with the Ninewa Department of Health.
The site is managed by humanitarian partner agencies. A total of 3,440 tents are occupied; an additional 146 families are staying in rub halls or sharing tents with relatives inside the camp while awaiting tent assignment. A total of 5,000 tents will be ready by the end of January. Another 2,000 tents will be ready in mid-March, and 3,000 more in April for an eventual capacity of 10,000 tent plots, to accommodate more than 60,000 people.
Recent upgrades at the site include installation of concrete bases, to provide tents with thermal protection from the ground. More than 3,900 of the 5,000 planned tent bases have already been laid. Storm drainage works have been completed and storm drainage around the tents has been widened to withstand heavy winter rains and prevent flooding.
These upgrades are funded by the EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO). Hundreds of NFI kits funded by ECHO and the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) are currently stockpiled at the site to be given to families on their arrival. Abu Husam fled his hometown of Al-Shirqat on a rainy night in December with his wife, four young children, two cousins and their families.
“We had to cross the Tigris River. We took a boat, but during our crossing ISIL started shooting at us and the boat began to take on water. I was able to pull my wife and children to the other side and thankfully all of us arrived safely.” “We were received by (Iraqi) military personnel, who brought us to the Al-Qayara emergency site. We arrived wet and cold, but safe. The materials we received – a heater, carpet, mattresses and blankets – help us to stay warm. Each family has their own tent in Al-Qayara,” he said.
“I am working as a daily worker in the camp, often loading and unloading relief kits, and doing construction. We would like to return home eventually, but will need to wait because our village is heavily damaged,” he added. IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss visited Al-Qayara emergency site on Thursday, 19 January. He spoke with site residents about their situation and needs, and met with the MoMD representative for Ninewa Governorate.
“The Ministry of Displacement and Migration and IOM Iraq complement each other in their work to rapidly accommodate thousands of people displaced by Mosul operations. Thanks to support from our donors and humanitarian partners, in just a few weeks this site has rapidly developed in order to meet the needs of displaced Iraqis, including shelter, health, and psychosocial services. We will continue to provide shelter and humanitarian services for vulnerable displaced Iraqis until they can return to their homes," he noted.
To provide work opportunities for displaced Iraqis at Al-Qayara, site contractors are employing residents on a rotational basis to carry out daily labour for site construction. The system provides many residents with an opportunity to earn money to support their families. IOM is constructing a second emergency site in Haj Ali, also in Ninewa governorate. More than 200 displaced families (over 1,000 individuals) are already accommodated in tents.
Over the coming months Haj Ali will be expanded to 7,500 tent plots. The combined capacity of the Haj Ali and Al-Qayara sites will provide shelter for over 100,000 individuals.
Support for Mosul Crisis Response has been provided to IOM through financial and in-kind contributions from OFDA, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), ECHO, the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), UN-OCHA, and the Governments of Canada, Kuwait, Germany, Sweden, and New Zealand.
Three months into the Mosul military operations, cumulatively, an estimated 182,220 individuals (30,370 families) have been displaced. Of these 23,292 individuals (3,882 families) have returned to their areas of origin. The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking has identified 158,928 individuals (26,488 families) that are still currently displaced.
Of those currently displaced, 72 percent are living in camp settings, while 14 percent are living in private settings and 12 percent in emergency sites. Around 1 percent are living in critical shelter arrangements such as unfinished or repurposed buildings.