USAID reports on Kurdish IDPs

Refugee camp near border, 12 June 2010. Photo: Holly Pickett/The New York Times

US Agency for International Development/Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA)

Iraq—Complex Emergency/Fact Sheet #1

Part of a report released yesterday by USAID and posted on ReliefWeb outlines details of the Kurdish IDPs (internally displaced persons) due to Iranian bombing campaigns and land incursions.  Iranian forces are in pursuit of PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) fighters, who they say are holed up in the Qandil mountains on the other side of the border.

With a weak central government in Baghdad and plans for US troop withdrawals, these attacks may become more frequent. The political stalemate over the formation of a new Iraqi government, already more than five months old, offers little encouragement. Kurdish officials in the north repeatedly criticised Baghdad for its muted response to Iranian aggression.

For now, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has been providing essential household supplies to more than half of the affected population, many of whom are living in makeshift refugee camps.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is quoted in the report as follows:

Between May 24 and June 30, aerial attacks by Iranian military forces against Kurdish opposition groups in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil governorates in northern Iraq displaced 926 households, or approximately 5,500 people. The bombings also resulted in at least two deaths, destroyed houses, killed livestock, and prevented families from accessing grazing and agricultural areas, according to OCHA. As of June 30, approximately 325 IDP households resided with host families, while more than 600 IDP families resided in camps. Few families reported imminent plans to return due to continuing insecurity.

In cooperation with the Government of Iraq (GoI) Ministry of Displacement and Migration (MoDM) and local authorities, USAID/OFDA grantee IOM identified the needs of displaced households and provided emergency relief commodities from pre-positioned stockpiles in Erbil Governorate to approximately 500 families, or 3,000 individuals. Commodities included water filtration units, blankets, sleeping mats, and mattresses.

No information is available as to when these families may be able to return to their villages of Ali Rash, Sharkhan, and other locales.

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