A growing number of Iraqis are returning home from Germany, citing a lengthy asylum process, bland food and poor shelters as reasons for leaving.
“My husband liked the idea of going there. He saw others and he wanted to imitate them,” said one Kurdish returnee. “The situation there was much worse than here. We spent around three months there. We got nothing. The food was bad and there was little of it. They used to give us a piece of cold bread and cheese and a piece of a cucumber. How can one survive a cold winter on such food? Our children were crying of hunger. We spent 11,000 US dollars and returned back empty handed.”
The number of returnees began rising in the final months of 2015. In December, 200 Iraqis headed back home.
The increase in demand has pushed Iraqi Airways to operate three flights per week – from Berlin, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt.
Airline employee Andesha Karim said:
“We have three flights per week, almost 100 refugees per week… The numbers are going up continually. It started last September and the numbers keep going up.”
Many are returning, they say, with less than they had on arrival in Germany. The International Organization for Migration is providing financial assistance for those who cannot afford the airfare.
The Iraqi embassy has provided one-way travel documents for many wishing to return home.