Even where ISIS is gone, displaced Iraqis still can’t go home

Since 2014, millions of Iraqis have been displaced by Islamic State (ISIS) and Iraq’s ongoing military efforts to defeat the group. Even as people return home to retaken areas, more continue to be displaced. Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) fled to camps or setup informal settlements, while others joined family members in safer areas or sometimes rented living space. 

As the battle to liberate Mosul escalated during recent months, more and more humanitarian resources were directed toward those leaving the city, leaving people from earlier displacements wondering what to do when aid is scarce, and it’s still not safe to go home.

More than 7,000 internally displaced Iraqis live in this camp in Salahaddin governorate in northern Iraq. 

More than 7,000 internally displaced Iraqis live in this camp in Salahaddin governorate in northern Iraq. 

The camp is a series of unfinished buildings that turned into an IDP site over the past several years as people fled ISIS.

The camp is a series of unfinished buildings that turned into an IDP site over the past several years as people fled ISIS.

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Many of the families in the camp were displaced in several other locations before arriving here.

Iraqi women in conflict-affected areas are suffering grave acts of violence. This poster in an IDP camp informs women where they can seek help.

Iraqi women in conflict-affected areas are suffering grave acts of violence. This poster in an IDP camp informs women where they can seek help.

Almost everyone says that the water supply in the camp is inadequate and of poor quality.  Water comes from tanks that were installed by international organizations, but they are not filled as regularly as needed.

Almost everyone says that the water supply in the camp is inadequate and of poor quality.  Water comes from tanks that were installed by international organizations, but they are not filled as regularly as needed.

Many of the IDPs in the camp say they would like to go home, but can’t because there are no jobs or services available yet.

Many of the IDPs in the camp say they would like to go home, but can’t because there are no jobs or services available yet.

Home for many IDPs in this camp is nearby, but was largely destroyed when ISIS occupied it.

Home for many IDPs in this camp is nearby, but was largely destroyed when ISIS occupied it.

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