Targeted Support Crucial for Displaced Persons In Informal Sites: IOM Iraq

Erbil — During the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), more than 6 million Iraqis were displaced from their homes. Nearly four years after the official end of the ISIL conflict, hundreds of thousands of families have returned to their areas of origin; however, an estimated 1.2 million individuals remain in displacement.

Over 103,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in 477 informal sites – locations outside of formal camps that are typically not integrated within the surrounding communities and excluded from public services. Families remaining in displacement in informal sites across Iraq will continue to face significant barriers to resolving their displacement — through returning home, local integration or relocating permanently to a new location — with basic services, agreements on land use and livelihood opportunities increasingly difficult to access.

Targeted research and programming are required to support this highly vulnerable population. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) commends the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster for publishing an Informal Sites Overview — presenting key information on the number of informal sites and population by governorate; district; shelter type; and urban/rural location breakdown.

The Overview summarizes the data contained in the CCCM Cluster’s Informal Sites Masterlist published in September 2021, including analysis of notable informal site population changes at governorate level over the last year. The Masterlist comprises data compiled from informal sites identified by the IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) between May-July 2021, as well as sites reported by CCCM partners in 2021. The CCCM Cluster also published this data on an Interactive Dashboard, where it can be filtered by governorate, district, and shelter and location type.

Complementary data produced by IOM DTM’s Integrated Location Assessment (ILA 6) in July 2021, and analysed in a recently published report, provides an overview of living conditions of IDPs and returnees in informal sites and highlights that the number of informal sites in which IDPs are unable to meet their basic needs has nearly doubled between 2020-2021.

For various reasons including remoteness, access and visibility, the populations living in informal sites often receive limited humanitarian or government assistance. IOM Iraq has been providing humanitarian assistance to some of these sites across Anbar, Baghdad, Salah al-Din and Ninewa governorates, including in some sites which had not received any form of support since the end of the ISIL conflict. However, the needs in informal sites remain significant and will require strategic interventions from humanitarian and durable solutions agencies and donors in the coming year, in an effort to improve living conditions and resolve factors contributing to protracted displacement.

This data collection is an important step toward recognizing the scale and complexity of needs of displaced populations living in informal sites across Iraq; it should allow for better-informed humanitarian response and advocacy.

The CCCM Cluster is an Inter-Agency Standing Committee coordination mechanism that supports people affected by natural disasters and IDPs affected by conflict with the means to live in safe, dignified and appropriate settings. IOM is co-coordinator of the CCCM Cluster in Iraq.


For more information, please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Email:

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