1st anniversary of the liberation of Mosul: a city under siege by improvised explosive devices and bombs

London, 11th July 2018

1st anniversary of the liberation of Mosul - 1,500 explosive remnants found in Al Shifa hospital, Mosul, a city sieged by improvised explosive devices and bombs.

One year on from Mosul’s liberation, 8 million tons [1] of explosive remnants still contaminate the city. Thousands of injured people are trying to access medical treatment and more than 300,000 [2] displaced people are still surviving in camps and communities as Mosul, littered with explosive remnants of war, remains a ticking time bomb.

Unprecedented contamination

Between October 2016 and July 2017, 1,717 airstrikes and 2,867 explosive hazard incidents hit the city of Mosul, leaving behind an unprecedented amount of explosive remnants of war. Added to this are the thousands of victim-activated improvised explosive devices left as traps by the Islamic State group. In Al-Shifa hospital alone, 1,500 explosive remnants of war were found [3]. Even today, accidents are numerous and whole areas of the city remain inaccessible due to heavy contamination. Since July 10, 2017, Humanity & Inclusion (HI) received reports of 127 accidents involving 186 casualties in Nineveh province. This figure is likely higher, as the exact number of casualties is uncertain.

The consequences for civilians are serious: death, severe injuries, permanent impairments, including a high number of amputations of upper and lower limbs. Between the 10th of July 2017 and the 15th of March 2018, 1,225 people received rehabilitation services from HI. 34% were injured in the conflict [4], out of these, 86% by explosive weapons.

The massive presence of explosive remnants in the city prevents people from returning to normal life after years of trauma. As of the 15th of May 2018, 57% of displaced persons from the Nineveh district [5] did not plan to return to their homes.

Among them, 22% cite the presence of victim-activated IEDs and explosive remnants as a reason for non-return.

Years to rebuild and clear

HI is now calling on the international community to face up to its responsibilities. The disproportion of the attacks carried out and the size of the remaining threat posed by victim-activated IEDs and explosive remnants make Mosul one of the most contaminated cities in the world.

"The urgent need is to clear contaminated areas, raise awareness of the dangers of explosive remnants and ensure assistance to the casualties, survivors and indirect victims. On the ground, we are operational, but the challenge now is for States to support demining operations in the long term” underlines Thomas Hugonnier, who leads Humanity & Inclusion’s mine action operations.

"The international community must do everything in its power to remove the obstacles preventing the people of Mosul from returning to a normal life" he adds.


[1] UN Habitat and the United Nations Environment Programme

[2] Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)

[3] United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)

[4] These injuries include bullet wounds, explosive weapons and other forms of violence (including torture), and injuries caused by events related to the crisis

[5] REACH, CCCM cluster, Iraq: Camps Intentions Survey Round 2 National Level, January 2018

Press contact

Marlene Sigonney, Humanity & Inclusion UK


Tel: +44 (0)870 774 3737 | +44 (0)7508 810 520

About Humanity & Inclusion

Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Humanity & Inclusion (the new name of Handicap International) is a charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights

Humanity & Inclusion in Iraq

Humanity & Inclusion has been present in Iraq for 25 years. Since 2014, its teams have been working alongside displaced people near the conflict zones. The organisation supports injured people and the most vulnerable, provides mine risk education sessions to communities, and demines the areas hardest hit by explosive remnants of war.