Over 1.5 million internally displaced persons in Iraq

Over 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq, most with urgent needs in the most basic services, continue to present numerous challenges for the Iraqi national authorities and the international community.

Data collected by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in January 2006 revealed almost 1.2 million individuals had been displaced over the past several decades, most of them living in public buildings, camps or with host communities throughout Iraq.

Since 22 February 2006, IOM assessments confirm an additional 360,000 individuals have been displaced due to sectarian violence, military clashes, and criminality. IOM's report, "Iraq Displacement 2006 Year in Review," released today, confirms the most urgent needs are food, water, shelter, and employment.

IOM has coordinated the assessment and monitoring of IDPs since April 2003, including information on their numbers, locations and needs in the 15 central and southern Iraq governorates.

IOM, as the lead organization in emergency distributions for those displaced inside Iraq, has assisted some 30,000 IDP families since 22 February 2006, which includes a total of 35 distributions of food and non-food items.

In response to the needs identified through IOM's monitoring, IOM implements community assistance projects and emergency distributions. With donor support, IOM carries out four main and inseparable activities in central and southern Iraq: (i) restore essential services including drinking water, sanitation, health, and education; (ii) support the implementation of Community Assistance Projects for IDPs and their host communities; (iii) continue assessments and monitoring of IDP movements, needs and durable solutions; and (iv) provide emergency food and non-food items to the most vulnerable IDPs.

As Iraq faces increased instability and violence, the immediate and long-term needs of the displaced will continue to increase, while funding for these projects is on the decline. IOM received only US$ 4 million in funding for IDPs in 2006.

The complete report will be available as of 30 January at: http://www.iom-iraq.net/idp.html

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