Displacement in Iraq is largest in its history as humanitarian crisis deepens

The largest wave of displacement in Iraq’s history requires a huge amount of humanitarian support.

This is how the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) described the situation of those displaced from Mosul. As Iraqi forces come closer to controlling all of Mosul, military operations, in one way or another, have left millions of people displaced.

4.5 million people have been displaced in the last three years. The IOM representative in Iraq has stated that “the situation in Mosul continues to be tragic and difficult. We see people who are living in the city and others coming out of the newly liberated areas. They have suffered so much in the past two and a half to three years. They have suffered enormously and need a tremendous amount of humanitarian assistance”.

In the face of this unprecedented displacement the IOM and UNHCR have worked to contain the bulk of the crisis by creating thousands of housing units around the city of Mosul. These are providing temporary homes to those displaced, but they are not without their problems.

The social fabric of Mosul has been torn apart, with the challenge of rehousing being part of a wider project of re-stitching the fabric of Iraqi society. The two social issues that is to hold the focus of post war reconstruction efforts are education and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For the 2.5 million children who have had their education disrupted due to this conflict, finding a way to introduce educational programs will be a challenge. Secondly, the onset of chronic PTSD is a phenomenon that has struck a significant majority of citizens in both Iraq and Syria.

These are issues that will evolve with programs having to evolve with them. A major challenge is ahead for these agencies.