Displacement crise in Iraq
With the number of displacements and the lack of support for returning families, Iraq has become one of the most troubled countries in the world. Many of the displaced persons would be willing to return to their villages, but are unable to do so because the infrastructure has been destroyed. In addition, there is constant possibility of further displacement. Although the Iraqi government is currently doing its utmost to encourage displaced people to return to their home, many families at risk cannot return without external assistance.
In February 2018, HEKS assessed the need for assistance in Ninewa province, along the old border. In this region, projects were focusing on rebuilding damaged or demolished infrastructure and restoring livelihoods, so that the most vulnerable families have sources of income again. The aim was also to promote the social cohesion of the different groups of the population.
Between August 2018 and April 2019, HEKS supported the people of Felfel (Ninewa) through cash for work programs and conducted mine risk awareness sessions.
In December 2018, a project was launched in the town of Al Ayadia so that those needed to be protected could return home safely. HEKS has also built 113 shelters in collaboration with Better Shelter, which specializes in temporary housing for displaced people. Families have already settled in these dwellings, which can accommodate up to five people.
In 2019, particularly vulnerable families in the small towns of Ba'aj and Rabia in Ninewa province received remuneration for their work under the Cash for work programs and were supported with accommodation. In addition, sanitation facilities and water treatment infrastructures have been renovated, providing access to safe drinking water. Finally, seeds and agricultural equipment were offered to peasant families so that they could resume their activities and thus guarantee their livelihoods.
In 2020, HEKS distributed cash assistance to 110 particularly vulnerable host community families in Kirkuk region. Each household received 200 US-Dollars. Cash assistance covers part of specific needs of families: access to health care, support payment of rent for their home, payment of school supplies, clothing and food.
In February 2021 and again in June 2021, an HEKS team visited Tuz Khurmatu and Amerli districts, north of Baghdad, to assess the urgent needs of returnees and the measures to be put in place to assist them. There, the need to access water, medical health care and education is enormous, as well as the need of reconstruction. Houses have been ravaged and infrastructure is no longer standing. Families barely have enough to live on.