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Iraq: Growing concerns for the people of Mosul

Since February 2016, humanitarian partners have been planning for the potential impact of military operations in Mosul. An estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million people could be affected. Civilians in Mosul could face multiple threats from cross-fire, sniper attacks, booby traps and explosive remnants of war. Responders fear that tens of thousands of Iraqi girls, boys, women and men may be forcibly expelled, trapped between conflict lines, held under siege or used as human shields.

Yesterday, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O'Brien called on all parties to the conflict "to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they are entitled to and deserve."

On 8 October, OCHA established a Humanitarian Operations Centre (HOC) in Erbil to convene cluster coordinators, civil-military coordinators and other key humanitarian actors to plan jointly for a cohesive response to anticipated displacement. Based on reports of a high state of readiness among forces along the front lines, the HOC has intensified preparations for the humanitarian consequences expected over the coming weeks.

As of 16 October, 27 camps and emergency sites have been confirmed and identified through the joint planning process to accommodate displaced people. A total of 10,014 plots are currently available for 60,084 people. A further 41,744 plots for 250,464 people are planned or under construction. Three camps to the south and south-west of Mosul have been identified as priority sites for the first waves of displacement. More plots are becoming available on a daily basis through coordination efforts, assessments, site visits and construction work. Clusters are working with partners to prepare the delivery of assistance and operate services at camps and emergency sites. The logistics cluster is mobilizing common storage for stocks.

Supplies of food, health items, medicines, shelter kits and WASH assistance are being moved into storage sites and distribution points. Assistance ready to distribute includes 59,800 tents; three-day ready-to-eat food rations for 220,000 families; 42,100 sets of emergency household items; 35,000 winterization kits; 240 tons of medicines; and 42,500 family-hygiene kits. Many more forms of assistance are ready to be dispatched and further stocks are in the pipeline.

The protection cluster has 66 mobile teams ready to provide assistance, including 28 for child protection, 26 for gender-based violence and 12 for general protection. In the first days of the response, the Iraq Displacement Tracking Matrix will provide key information on displacement patterns, and humanitarian partners are preparing to conduct rapid needs assessments at camps and emergency sites.

Key Facts:

  • Plans are being continuously revised and updated as new information on the parameters of the military operation becomes available.
  • Clusters have prepared pragmatic strategies and are procuring and pre-positioning supplies based on these.
  • As of 16 October, space is available to accommodate 60,000 displaced people in seven sites, including camps and emergency locations.
  • 250,000 additional spaces are under construction or planned.

UN News Centre