“Iraqi families who fled recent sectarian violence and military operations are returning in numbers to certain areas of Baghdad where security has improved”, Reuters reports, citing a new IOM assessment.
This, however, is the glass-half-full version. The gist of the report is not that refugees are flooding back but rather that those displaced during the fighting in Sadr City — not “sectarian violence” — have mostly returned home. Yet, IOM says,
[…] in many neighbourhoods or cities, families cannot return to their former homes, either because it was destroyed, is currently occupied by squatters or because of on-going insecurity.
[…] returnees and internally displaced people throughout the country continue to face a chronic shortage of services, with almost half of the families in some areas saying they have intermittent access to government food rations, which remain largely insufficient for their needs. Access to potable water, health care and medicines also remains problematic throughout the country, particularly for poor families. Only 35 per cent of the displaced country-wide report they have access to fuel.
[…] access to education remains difficult for displaced children because their families have often lost food ration cards, which are required when enrolling in local schools. The fact that they’ve missed school in their area of displacement also means that many face problems when they want to enrol once they’ve returned home.