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Poverty rate grows to 45 pct in Iraqi provinces freed from IS
August 11,2017   By:Xinhua
BAGHDAD, Aug.11,2017-- The poverty rate grew to 45 percent in Iraq's key cities and towns once controlled by the Islamic State (IS), a lawmaker said on Thursday.
 
The latest survey, conducted by the Ministry of Planning and international organizations, showed an increase in poverty rate from 20 percent to 45 percent during the past two years in provinces including Salahudin, Diyala, Nineveh, Anbar and Kirkuk, said Noora al-Bechari, a member of the national central committee for poverty reduction.
 
The statistics did not include the internally displaced people (IDPs) to other Iraqi cities and migrants outside the country, she added.
 
Bechari noted that despite the driving out of IS militants from large areas in the provinces, there had been a continued displacement due to food insecurity, loss of jobs and high commodity prices in the liberated areas, as the security situation remains unstable.
 
The loss in the freed areas mounted to about 30 billion U.S. dollars, due to the fierce battles in the devastated cities and towns, she said, adding that the difficulties in funding rehabilitation of the cities and towns "caused additional problems, including unemployment, increased illiteracy, diseases and other social problems."
 
"The value of the international assistance to relieve and resettle the residents of these areas is substantial, but it remains much less than the needed," Bechari concluded.
 
The IS group made a significant blitzkrieg and seized large territories in the predominantly Sunni provinces in northern and western Iraq in June 2014, pushing millions of Iraqis to leave their homes during the past three years.
 
Many of the displaced people returned to their homes after the security forces, backed by international coalition, defeated IS militants in many of their strongholds across the country.
 
On July 10, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared Mosul's liberation from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.
 
The Iraqi forces still have to wage more offensives to drive out IS militants from their redoubts in Tal Afar in west of Mosul, Hawijah in southwestern Kirkuk, the adjacent sprawling rugged areas in eastern Salahudin province, in addition to the remaining IS strongholds in the border towns with Syria in western Anbar province.