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Iraq: “The fighting may be over, but the humanitarian crisis is not”

11 Jul 2017
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Civilians run from sniper fire (Intessar neighbourhood, eastern Mosul). Credit: OCHA/Themba Linden

More than 2,300 people have fled western Mosul since yesterday, as fighting continues in parts of Mosul to clear the remaining ISIL fighters. The number of people cumulatively displaced by this crisis is now almost 933,000. Of these people, only 224,000 have been able to return to their homes, and some 709,000 people remain displaced. The majority of returnees have gone to eastern Mosul, where damage to civilian infrastructure has been less severe than in western Mosul.

Victory over the city has been declared, but the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, warns that the situation remains dire for many civilians. The latest screenings of children arriving from western Mosul indicate a global acute malnutrition rate of more than 10 per cent.

“It's a relief to know that the military campaign in Mosul is ending,” said Ms. Grande. “The fighting may be over, but the humanitarian crisis is not. Many of the people who have fled have lost everything. They need shelter, food, health care, water, sanitation and emergency kits. The levels of trauma we are seeing are some of the highest anywhere. What people have experienced is nearly unimaginable.”

Humanitarian agencies prepare an aid distribution in Samah neighbourhood, eastern Mosul. Credit: OCHA/Themba Linden

Of the 54 residential neighbourhoods in western Mosul, 15 are heavily damaged and at least 23 are moderately damaged. Humanitarian partners continue to work around the clock to respond to civilians’ needs. So far they have provided emergency assistance to more than 1.5 million people in Mosul and surrounding areas. But more life-saving assistance, and the funds to provide that assistance, are desperately required.

To date, less than 45 per cent of the $US985 million Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq has been received, leaving a gap of more than $544 million.