Displaced Iraqi girl living in abandoned mosque freezes to death
A displaced Iraqi girl has frozen to death in northern Iraq's Nineveh Governorate after the area experienced a sharp drop in temperatures, The New Arab's Arabic-language service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
The girl was living with her family in an abandoned mosque in the town of Hammam al-Alil, about 27 kilometres south of Mosul.
The family could not afford the heating as temperatures plummeted, local media reported on Monday.
Nineveh saw a massive wave of displacement after the Islamic State group invaded the province in the summer of 2014. About a quarter of Iraq's 1.2 million displaced people live in Nineveh province.
One local official held the government and ministry of migration and displacement responsible for the ongoing suffering of the homeless.
"It is surprising that the ministry of migration and displacement talks about ending [displacement], while more than 37,000 displaced families were unable to return to their homes," the official, who wished to remain anonymous to protect his safety, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
"The drop in temperatures will have serious repercussions on the displacement issue, as the displaced need support to provide the simplest services, including heating and cooking necessities," the official continued, stating the government and ministry had failed to find solutions so far.
In October 2020, Iraq's migration ministry announced a push to shut down displacement camps nationwide, with a stated aim of having displaced people return to their homes.
The announcement was met with outcry by many IDPs and their advocates, who said displaced people could not return to their homes as the environment lacked security and services.
By January 2021, the migration and displacement ministry had shut down 16 camps.
The move left more than 30,000 displaced people without assurances they could return home safely or find another camp to live in, according to Human Rights Watch.
Iraq still has more than 20 camps housing tens of thousands of displaced families, most of them in the Kurdistan region.
However, most displaced Iraqis reside in informal sites, including abandoned or unfinished buildings.