U.N.: Many Iraqi refugees reluctant to return home fearing explosive waste

Iraqi refugees

Baghdad ( Many Iraqi refugees fear returning to their home regions fearing danger from explosives left over from the war against Islamic State militants, the United Nations has said.

“One in 10 internally displaced persons (IDPs) not planning to return home cites explosive hazards as the reason,” said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq in a report on Tuesday.

A survey carried out by the organization and partners in IDP camps between 12 December 2017 and 14 January 2018 showed that “52% of people interviewed were not planning to return home”. It added that “of the 52% that will not return, 21% state this is due to the possible presence of IEDs and unexploded ordnance”.

Iraq’s war against the Islamic State displaced nearly five million of civilians both inside and outside the country, and left thousands dead. Of those displaced, nearly a half have returned home, according to government and U.N statistics.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State last December, ending a three-year war to bring down the group’s self-styled “caliphate” declared from Nineveh’s Mosul in 2014.

The war left thousands of unexploded military ordnance across cities recaptured from IS, which the U.N. said recently could need a decade to remove and save millions of civilians.

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