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Authorities Say 1.4 Million IDPs, Syrian Refugees Still in North Iraq

Kurdish authorities said 1.4 million Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian refugees have been resettled in the Kurdistan Region since fight against Islamic State (ISIS) began in both countries.

Director-General of the Joint Crisis Coordination Center (JCC), Hoshang Mohammed said that 30 percent of the IDPs and 98 percent of Syrian refugees in Iraq have been sheltered in the region.

Nearly 250,000 people were displaced from Mosul due to the operations to retake the city from ISIS militants, Mohammed told Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) website.

"Around 50 percent of them returned to Mosul, while the number of returnees to the surrounding region was higher," he said.

More than 4,500 people have returned from Mosul to camps in the Kurdistan Region since January this year, according to the official.

"Lack of security, stability, services, strong administration, and livelihoods, as well as social issues, terrorism, and militia threats are the main reason that push the displaced people to return to the camps," he added.

Mohammed noted 148,000 people were also displaced to the Kurdistan Region after Iraqi forces, alongside Hashid al-Shaabi, launched an offensive to retake the disputed areas from Kurdish forces on October 16.

The Iraqi government, preparing for elections in May, says it is doing its best to stabilize and reconstruct the areas retaken from ISIS militants, adding that it cannot handle the damage without international support.

Iraq said its 10-year reconstruction plan will cost $88.2 billion, $22 billion of which is required immediately.

The government of Iraq received pledges totaling $30 billion USD at an international conference for reconstruction held in Kuwait in February, in which Baghdad had hoped for more.

,Regarding Syrian refugees in the region, the JCC director-general said there are 240,014 refugees who have been registered in the Kurdistan Region. Sixty percent of them are living in the camps in Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimani.

Up to 12 families including 60 people were displaced to the region from Afrin after the Turkish army, along with their rebel allies, seized the city last month.

Head of the KRG's Department of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa, said the Kurdish government needs $1.9 billion per year to provide assistance for Syrian refugees and Iraqi displaced people

KRG authorities said the region's overall population had grown by 30 percent as a result of the humanitarian crisis.

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