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Iraq: "As long as highly vulnerable people need our help, we will be here.” - Humanitarian Coordinator

12 Oct 2017
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Women and children displaced by fighting in northern Iraq. Credit: IOM

One year after the start of the military campaign to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), 673,000 Muslawis are still displaced from their homes; 274,000 are living in 18 camps and emergency sites surrounding the city; 400,000 are staying with family, friends or in rented accommodation.

During the nine-month battle, one million civilians were evacuated from Mosul by Iraqi Security Forces in one of the largest managed evacuations in recent history. “The number of people who fled exceeded even our worst-case projections,” said Ms. Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “We feared that as many as 700,000 civilians might flee. The actual number was far, far higher.”

“Ensuring that people can return voluntarily and safely to their homes is a collective responsibility,” said Ms. Grande. Of the one million civilians who fled the city, 327,000 have returned to their homes; 184,000 people to eastern Mosul and 143,000 to western Mosul.


Iraqi refugee children who fled from Tal Afar and found shelter in schools, mosques and unfinished buildings in the area of Sinjar, in Ninawa governorate. Credit: Iraqi Red Crescent/OCHA

“Eastern and western Mosul couldn’t be more different. Ninety-seven percent of the population has returned to their homes in eastern Mosul. People are rebuilding their lives there. Children are in school, services are being reestablished and businesses are open,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

“Conditions in western Mosul are very difficult. Large parts of the city are destroyed and have not yet been green-lighted for returns,” said Ms. Grande. “Families are worried about booby-traps, security and services.”

The Mosul humanitarian operation is one of the largest in the region. Government ministries and departments have worked for months to provide direct assistance to families fleeing the city. Humanitarian partners have supported this effort, reaching 2 million civilians including thousands of families who stayed in their homes.

More than 3.3 million emergency boxes with food, water and hygiene items have been distributed by partners.

Two million people have benefitted from water and sanitation services. A quarter of a million highly traumatized women, girls, boys and men have benefitted from psycho-social support. More than 1.5 million people have received health care; 20,000 people with trauma injuries have been stabilized at or near the frontline before being transferred to nearby hospitals for emergency treatment.

“Even now, three months after the fighting has stopped, humanitarians are providing assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people who are still displaced and to the hundreds of thousands who stayed in their homes or who have gone back to them.”
“We want the emergency to be over,” said Ms. Grande. “But as long as highly vulnerable people need our help, we will be here.”

The 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan is only 57 per cent funded.