UNHCR: Support still Needed for Mosul Aid Operations

From Adrian Edwards, UNHCR spokesperson:

Sustained support still needed for Mosul Aid Operations

In Iraq, and just over a month since the start of the Mosul offensive, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners have been intensifying life-saving, emergency help for tens of thousands of displaced people.

There has been a marked increase over the past week in the number of people fleeing after fighting intensified in the more densely-populated urban areas of Mosul. Of the 60,000 people who have fled their homes since the start of the campaign on October 17, around 40,000 have done so since the start of November.

Close to half are children, according to UN data and UNHCR surveys. Women, girls and female headed households, some of whom are survivors of abuse, account for much of the rest.

The need for sustained funding support as winter approaches, and a redoubling of efforts to reach those displaced by the fighting, many of whom now live in rudimentary conditions in camps, is crucial. UNHCR is also calling again on all parties in the fighting to respect the rights and lives of civilians, and we emphasize the importance of freedom of movement for residents of Mosul.

Civilians should not be prevented from leaving the city and should have access to safe areas. Equally, civilians must not be forced to return to unsafe areas.

In some areas, civilian infrastructure like water, power, schools and hospitals is damaged and medical services are often unavailable. Many people are going hungry due to lost livelihoods, curtailed food production and increased prices. Supplies of water for drinking and agriculture have been disrupted.

UNHCR currently has six camps open, hosting well over 14,000 people and with a capacity for 54,600. Three more are under construction and one is in planning. All told, the 10 camps will have capacity for 17,000 plots. Additional land is required for UNHCR’s total planned 20,000 plots (with six people on average per family tent/plot), in order to provide shelter for 120,000 people in camps. If needed, UNHCR and its partners, including the Government of Iraq, can potentially host 700,000 people, including a number of shelter solutions outside of camps. But funding for this is crucial.

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