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Iraq: Civilians need humanitarian assistance to survive

17 May 2017
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An Iraqi woman from Mosul holds her daughter in one hand and empty water containers in the other. Two other children follow her in search of water near the Garmava temporary camp in central Iraq. Credit: UNHCR/S. Baldwin

Concern continues for the safety and well-being of civilians in the remaining ISIL-held parts of western Mosul as military operations progress. Humanitarian partners estimate that 275,000 people remain in the areas still under ISIL territorial control inside the city.

The rising casualty rates reflect the risks that people in the conflict zone and those trying to leave are exposed to every day. Between October 2016—when the Mosul operations began—and 9 May 2017, more than 12,300 people have been transferred to hospital for trauma injuries, nearly 6,200 people from western Mosul alone. However, these figures reflect only the number of people who were able to access assistance and health facilities, meaning the actual numbers could be much higher.

For those who remain in Mosul, life is a daily challenge. Water availability is scarce, as many people are reportedly drinking from unsafe, untreated water sources. This is particularly concerning, as the sweltering summer heat is now threatening to worsen life conditions for the displaced people. IOM has warned that with temperatures nearing 40°C and reaching the 50°C mark in some areas, the coming months will be difficult. Every day, humanitarian partners are delivering 1.4 million litres of water to accessible parts of western Mosul and 3.1 million litres to east Mosul.

Since October 2016, emergency response packages of food, water and hygiene supplies have been distributed to families leaving the conflict zone, in displacement areas and inside Mosul, wherever access allows. These supplies cover the humanitarian needs of more than 2.7 million people, with many requiring such assistance more than once.

More than 678,000* people have now been cumulatively displaced from Mosul city since October 2016, the vast majority from western Mosul. More than 526,000 people remain currently displaced from Mosul, the remainder having returned to home areas, where conditions allowed.

* Displacement figures are according to the Iraqi authorities.