Japan to deepen assistance to areas of return in Iraq

Japan to deepen assistance to areas of return in Iraq

As the pace of return of displaced Iraqis to areas of origin has accelerated in recent months, the Government of Japan is supporting IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with new funds to stabilize conflict-affected communities in Iraq and support the sustainable reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The funding, valued at USD 3.64 million, will support IOM Iraq’s comprehensive response to the needs of conflict-affected people in return areas. The 12-month project aims to assist more than 160,000 people through three components: shelter rehabilitation, enhancing health services and upgrading medical facilities, and supporting social cohesion efforts in vulnerable communities of return.

“It is the fourth year in a row that Japan provided assistance for vulnerable Iraqi/Syrian people affected by ISIL through its Supplementary Budget,” said Fumio Iwai, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq. “This financial support shows Japan’s strong and faithful commitment to addressing basic needs in the camps and the areas of return in Iraq. The assistance to IOM comes as part of the new package of humanitarian and stabilization efforts to Iraq, amounting to approximately USD 100 million. Japan is determined to serve displaced persons, refugees and host communities in Iraq while supporting Iraq’s efforts for its development,” he added.

The project will mostly focus on Telafar district, approximately 50 km west of the city of Mosul in Ninewa Governorate, which hosts one of the largest concentrations of returnees in Iraq. Telafar was retaken from ISIL late in the summer of 2017, after Mosul.

According to a field assessment conducted by IOM Iraq in Telafar in December 2017, nearly 40 percent of the district’s houses are completely destroyed or partially damaged. In addition to repairing the damaged houses of dozens of vulnerable families, IOM will rehabilitate a park in the centre of Telafar with landscaping, gardening and a child-friendly area to play.

“Securing shelters and access to basic services is essential for returnees to rebuild their lives and achieve a durable solution to their displacement,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “We are grateful for Japan’s continued support to IOM Iraq, in this crucial period; large-scale military operations have ceased and now our main focus, in cooperation with the Government of Iraq, is on capacity building and repairing the damage left by three years of conflict,” he added.

“The violence perpetrated by ISIL has created deep emotional, psychological and relational fissures in communities, which can hamper peacebuilding, social cohesion and rebuilding of areas of return,” said Gulistan Chalabi, one of IOM Iraq’s psychologists. “Many displaced people have already returned; however, these movements have also created a wide range of new emotional and relational challenges at individual, family, community and societal levels.”

IOM will establish and operate two community centres in Telafar and Mosul districts to promote mediation and conflict resolution skills, women’s leadership and youth empowerment, as well as to provide psychosocial support focused on stress management, resilience building and self-confidence.

Furthermore, to improve access of returnees and IDPs to quality healthcare services, IOM will upgrade and revitalize medical centres including the General Hospital in Telafar and Zaytun Primary Health Care Centre in Erbil.

The funds will also contribute to upgrading an ophthalmological unit in Mosul; several thousand individuals will receive vision screenings, and around 1,500 will receive prescription glasses through a public-private partnership with the Japanese company Fuji Megane.

Original source: IOM
Published on 3 March 2018