Parliament allocates more money for IDPs

Another tranche of 350 million Iraqi dinars (about US$290,000) has been allocated by the Iraqi parliament to cope with the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs), a lawmaker said on 23 January.

“This amount will help displaced families living in makeshift camps and compounds which, for many reasons, did not receive enough aid from government and non-governmental organisations [NGOs],” Abdul-Khaliq Zankana, head of parliament’s displacement committee, told IRIN.

“A plan for using this money has not been drawn up yet as the committee members are trying to determine how to help these most needy families in such compounds, either by giving them cash or by buying materials,” Zankana said.

On 6 December parliament allocated 500 million Iraqi dinars (about $410,000) to help the IDPs. The money had been earmarked from unused attendance allowances for MPs. The parliamentary displacement committee was planning to use the money to buy food, blankets, hygiene kits and clothes, especially for children.

IDP figures

On 27 December 2007 the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said over 82 percent of Iraqi IDPs were women, and children under 12. Children under 12 made up 58.7 percent of the IDPs.

The IRCS also said most of the IDPS suffer from disease, poverty and malnutrition. Displaced children do not attend schools and are being sheltered in tents, abandoned government buildings with no water or electricity, mosques, churches, or with relatives.

In its latest December update, IRCS statistics showed that by the end of November 2007 the number of Iraqi IDPs was 2,179,614 - a decrease of 0.5 percent on the October figure.

These figures are slightly less than those of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which says there are 2.2 million IDPs in Iraq .

Over 2.2 million other Iraqis have fled to neighbouring states, particularly Syria (about 1.5 million) and Jordan (up to 750,000).

In November 2007, the UNHCR said continuing violence had forced an average of 60,000 Iraqis from their homes in the preceding few months.

Kurdistan, a safe haven for many Iraqis, recently also became involved in armed conflicts as Iranian and Turkish forces bombarded alleged hideouts of Kurdish rebels in border villages. Thousands of villagers left their homes and migrated to other areas, thus compounding displacement problems in Iraq.