The number of displaced people in Iraq’s southern Karbala Camp has decreased by 40% according to local officials. Many people fled their homes in 2014 as ISIS militants surged through parts of northern and north-central Iraq. Now, however, many have returned home, although thousands more are still awaiting the green light and the opportunity to return to their liberated areas.
Despite the reduction in internally displaced people or IDPs, the Iraqi Ministry for Migration and Displacement has allocated a further $1 billion dinar for water and electricity projects in a second camp, which was established with the help of UN Habitat. However, no IDPs have thus far settled in the camp, leading many officials to question the use of the money, especially during the country’s current financial crisis.
“We were very surprised that this complex requested the Ministry of Migration and Displacement to continue building its infrastructure,” said one woman. “Why is all this money being spent in light of the current financial distress?”
Other people have also questioned the ministry’s spending but welcome the initiative if it is deemed useful and necessary.
“They have to think about whether they want to take the money, or leave it,” said another official. “With regards to the second camp project, I personally don’t know at this moment in time. If the project serves our province and the displaced people then I can consider it to be good.”
According to the Commission for Migration and Displacement in Karbala, more than 10,000 families still remain displaced. They, along with hundreds of thousands of others, especially from the city of Mosul that was liberated on 10th July this year, are awaiting permission to return to their homes, and restart their lives.