Iraq declares 2.5mn displaced people return home

Baghdad:The Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement on Thursday announced that some 2.5 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) have returned to their houses in the areas liberated from the Islamic State.

A statement quoted Minister Jassim Mohammed Al Jaf as saying that his Ministry in cooperation with the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which is responsible for military operations across Iraq, “managed to transfer 2.5 million IDPs to their homes in the liberated towns and villages,” Xinhua reported.

Al Jaf’s comments came during his meeting with the Higher Committee for the displaced people in Baghdad in the presence of the governors of the two provinces of Anbar and Nineveh where they “discussed the situation of displaced families and their return to their original areas, as well as the stability in the liberated areas and the means to unify efforts with all relevant ministries to restore normalcy to the returned people”.

He confirmed that “the return operations are continuing at a very high pace, especially in Anbar and Nineveh provinces,” adding that the return operation of IDPs is also ongoing in many areas in Kirkuk province, according to the statement.

He also urged “the relevant parties to intensify their efforts and activities to provide public services to liberated areas that can help restore stability and normal life,” it said.

According to the Ministry, some 5 million Iraqis have been displaced from urban areas since the extremist IS group took control of large swathes in the provinces of Anbar, Salahudin, Kirkuk and Diyala in 2014.

On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al Abadi told the parliament that his government is continuing to return the refugees voluntarily and provide services to their areas to guarantee that the residents can effectively take part in the upcoming elections slated for May 12.

On December 9, 2017, Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from the IS after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.