Informal sites remain a key displacement location
In September 2021, Iraq's Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster disseminated new information on internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in informal sites in Iraq, drawing on the IOM-DTM Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) VI and data reported by CCCM partners throughout 2021.
Per the CCCM technical definition (widely used by humanitarian partners in Iraq), an informal site hosts a minimum of five displaced households, living together collectively in sub-standard living conditions, in a location not constructed to accommodate people, who were displaced after 2014. Accommodations in informal sites can include tents, makeshift shelters, unfinished or abandoned buildings, or buildings not meant for residential purpose such as schools or mosques. Informal sites remain a key displacement location in Iraq, with 17,416 households (103,005 individuals) residing in 477 sites across the country. While more than half of the sites surveyed host 20 households (approximately 120 people) or less, some are significantly larger, with 30 sites hosting between 100 and 660 households.
The largest percentage of families surveyed (160 households, or 34 per cent) are recorded as living in "unfinished or abandoned buildings." Approximately 130 families (27 per cent) live in "mud or block structures," and 70 families (15 per cent) are reported to live in "tents or makeshift shelters." Significantly smaller groups are reported to live in containers, caravans, religious buildings or schools. Urban settings make up the largest number of informal sites (219 out of 477, or 46 per cent), with approximately 38 per cent of families living in rural areas. A small percentage live in peri-urban settings, with the remainder undefined.
Overall, Duhok governorate hosts the largest number of informal sites (19,400 people living in 160 sites), but Ninewa governorate hosts the largest number of people (32,300 people living in 130 sites). Al-Anbar, Baghdad, Salah al-Din and Kirkuk governorates also host significant numbers of people living in informal sites.
Conditions in informal settlements can be quite basic, although circumstances vary depending on the site. Indicative data from the recent Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment (Round IX) suggests that IDPs living in informal sites do have some increased vulnerabilities when compared to other out-of-camp IDPs. For example, 19 per cent of IDPs living in informal sites reported they did not intend to return to their areas of origin due to explosive ordnance contamination,