Kur­dis­tan, the shel­ter for refugees

Ap­prox­i­mately 1 mil­lion people from the Syr­ian Kur­dis­tan and other parts of Iraq have been dis­placed due to the war and the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tions and have re­set­tled in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Fol­low­ing the as­sault by the Is­lamic State of Iraq and Le­vant (ISIS) on the Neinava Prov­ince and some other cities and ar­eas in north­ern Iraq ear­lier this month, a large num­ber of Iraqis left their homes and fled to­wards Kur­dis­tan Re­gion es­cap­ing from vi­o­lence.

They were try­ing to save their lives and fam­i­lies from a war and vi­o­lence they have not cre­ated.

Min­istry of In­te­rior (MOI) of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) an­nounced that cur­rently there are ap­prox­i­mately one mil­lion refugees and In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons (IDPs) in all the Kur­dish cities and towns, and now out of each 6 res­i­dents, one is a refugee.

“The pop­u­la­tion of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion is 5.2 mil­lion, and the 1 mil­lion refugees con­sti­tute one sixth of the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion,” MOI an­nounced.

Ma­jor­ity of the Iraqis and the Syr­ian Kurds who are dis­placed seek shel­ter in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, the safest area within reach. The ma­jor­ity of the refugees have set­tled in and around the three ma­jor cities of Er­bil, Duhok and Suleimaniya.

Shukri Barzani, the Di­rec­tor of Im­mi­gra­tion and Im­mi­grants in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, told Anadolu News Agency that be­fore the at­tack by the ISIS on Mo­sul, the to­tal num­ber of refugees in Kur­dis­tan was around 755 thou­sand, con­sist­ing of 266 thou­sand from Syria, 30 thou­sand from Iran and 12 thou­sand from Turkey. This is in ad­di­tion to the IDPs from other parts of Iraq such as An­bar, Fal­luja, which in­creased the num­ber to 755,000.”

Barzani said af­ter the in­flux of 300,000 IDPs from Mo­sul, the num­ber of refugees in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion passed 1 mil­lion.

Be­cause the un­fold­ing of the de­vel­op­ments is so rapid not all the Mo­sul IDPs could be pro­vided with ac­com­mo­da­tion. The ma­jor­ity live in tents. They are not sat­is­fied with this and ask for more aid. For­eign coun­tries started to sup­port the IDPs, and ac­cord­ing to Barzani Qatar was the first for­eign coun­try to send aid to the Mo­sul IDPs in Kur­dis­tan.

Some of the IDPs who are fi­nan­cially bet­ter off stay in ho­tels and ser­viced apart­ments and can af­ford a bet­ter ac­com­mo­da­tion than tents, at least on a tem­po­rary ba­sis.

Hus­sein Suleiman, fa­ther of 4 chil­dren, who has fled Mo­sul to Er­bil, said that they are stay­ing with 10 more people in one ho­tel room.

“We are wait­ing for the war to end and go back to our homes,” Suleiman said.

The Kur­dish govern­ment tries its best to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion of the refugees.

Pre­vi­ously, the Kur­dis­tan au­thor­i­ties were only con­cerned about the Syr­ian Kur­dish refu- gees, but now the Mo­sul and other Iraqi IDPs are added. The KRG is cur­rently plan­ning to re­or­ga­nize its refugee man­age­ment plan and reg­is­ter them in or­der to be able to deliver ba­sic ser­vices to ev­ery­body and equally.

Re­ports claim that the Euro­pean Union is plan­ning to open its of­fice in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion in the near fu­ture, and the KRG Depart­ment of For­eign Re­la­tions is work­ing hard to have this of­fice opened as soon as pos­si­ble so that the Euro­pean coun­tries can send their aids to the refugees in the Re­gion.

This comes at a time when the Iraqi Govern­ment not only has not helped the refugees, but also kept silent about them.

Ex­perts, hence, ar­gue that the re­cent ten­sions and vi­o­lence has a sec­tar­ian root and the Prime Min­is­ter Nouri- al- Ma­liki’s govern­ment acts ac­cord­ingly.

Ma­liki is now fac­ing a lot of in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal pres­sure and is not able to counter the ISIS fighters. His army with­drew from most of the ar­eas with­out any re­sis­tance.

Many places would have been left with a se­cu­rity gap if the Pesh­marga Forces did not take con­trol of them. They pro­tect the vast ar­eas mil­i­tar­ily and pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian help as well.

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