Iraq's ministry of migration: 147 billion IQD assistance delivered to three Kurdish provinces

Iraq, August 3, 2016

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region- The Iraqi Migration Minister Darbaz Muhammed announced that Iraq has given 147 billion Iraqi Dinars (approximately $126 million) of assistance to three provinces that make up the Kurdistan Region to help The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with the current inflow of refugees and displaced persons.

Muhammed told Rudaw that following the budget law the Iraqi government has helped Kurdistan shelter refugees in its three provinces.

According to the minister the assistance was delivered as follows:

* 107 billion IQD assistance to Duhok

* 20 billion IQD assistance to Erbil

* 20 billion IQD assistance to Sulaimani

Muhammed said that only 15% of the internally displaced people (IDP’s) are sheltered in camps where they are taken care of by international organizations.

“85% of the Iraqi refugees are staying in rented houses and this has helped to revive the Kurdistan region market because 50% of them have an annual salary,” he said.

Around 1.8 million refugees, IDPs and migrants have now taken shelter in Kurdish controlled territories in northern Iraq. The Kurdish authority does not have the financial capability to support all of them them, says the Kurdish Chief of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa.

There will be at least five new camps in the outskirts of Dohuk city as the province prepares for a second wave of refugees which are expected to flee Mosul ahead of the looming operation to drive Islamic State (ISIS) militants out of that key city.

Kurdish officials told Rudaw that the monthly cost of maintaining the refugee camps in the Kurdish territories is well above $100 million, which is more than what the KRG can cope with given the ongoing war against ISIS and the withholding of funds from Baghdad due to the current political gridlock.

Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, has said military operations to retake areas held by the Islamic State group have already forced hundreds of thousands to leave their homes. She said the anticipated offensive to drive out ISIS from the area will likely trigger the current humanitarian crisis to deteriorate further.