Dramatic increase of displacement from Mosul

News and Press Release
Originally published

Yesterday, we observed a dramatic increase in the number of people arriving at displacement camps around Mosul.

We see the increase in the need of food and water in the camps where NRC is handing out these lifesaving packages to people upon arrival.

While the relief packages served 6,737 people from 17th October to 3rd November, 9,018 people received such assistance on the day of 4th of November alone. Most of the people arrived in Hashansham, namely in the two camps Khazar and U3. The families had fled the suburbs of Mosul, mostly from the neighbourhood of Gagjari. Today, food and water was distributed to yet another 1,000 families.

The steep increase is just the beginning. Mosul has a large population that is comparable to that of Munich, Birmingham or Hawaii. It is estimated that at least 1.2 million people are trapped inside the city. At least 700,000 people might soon require humanitarian assistance.

Newly arrived people in the camps describe a harsh reality under ISIS where everything has been strictly controlled, with little personal freedom. Children have been deprived of education, and young people tell us about inhumane punishment in ISIS prisons.

Ammar Abdullah from Gogjali, arrived to the U3 camp with his family on 4th of October: “Everything was difficult under ISIS, even when you tried to sleep, it was difficult to feel tired. There was no future, no life, no school. You don’t know how to explain this all to the kids, they fought you for your clothes, they fought you for your faith. If you just sat in front of your house, they would ask you: ‘What are you doing in front of you house?’ There was no privacy. No telephones. No TV. That is not what I call a life.”

Fadhila Rijib, from Gogjali, arrived to Khazer camp with her family on 3rd of November 2016: “The battle between ISIS and the army was very exhausting. We stayed two days in the house, then we walked towards the army. We were walking for two nights, then the military took us on trucks, then we slept on the truck. We were running among the houses; we did not know what was happening.” Quotes by Wolfgang Gressmann, NRC Country Director:

Quotes by Wolfgang Gressmann, NRC Country Director:

“This is the beginning of a massive exodus from Mosul city. We must insist that civilians fleeing have genuinely safe exit routes out of the city. The international community needs to understand the gravity of this and act accordingly, and get prepared with the support that people fleeing will need.” “We are concerned about reports of civilians having to hand in their ID papers upon arrival at the camps as it may impair access to services, as well as limit their freedom of movement. We are also concerned about the general suspicion of ISIS-affiliation directed towards any civilian who have fled oppression and war. How these people are treated now will serve as an example of dignified treatment of civilians of any background, religion or ethnicity in a post-ISIS Iraq.”

“Over the last months and weeks, people who fled tell us that getting hold of food other basic commodities has become increasingly difficult inside ISIS controlled areas. Most of those we spoke to describe a long journey on foot, including elderly people and children.”

Facts about the humanitarian situation in Iraq:

  • More than 1 million civilians are at risk of being affected by the on-going military operations to retake Mosul.
  • At least 700,000 will need urgent assistance in the form of shelter, food, water or medical support.
  • More than 22,000 people are currently displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance. Partners are providing emergency assistance in camps and host communities.
  • More than 140,000 people are currently displaced along the so-called Mosul corridor
  • Many displaced people have headed to Debaga camp in Erbil, where the population has increased from 3,700 people in March 2016 to over 28,000, with camp capacity originally set up for 5,000 people with additional space for 1,000 people at the nearby stadium. Over 58,000 have passed through the camp since March, although at least 12,000 have left through sponsorship mechanisms, largely to Kirkuk.
  • The Mosul humanitarian response is estimated to cost US$367 million to include final preparations and the first three months of response. Around half of this amount has been received.
  • Only 57 per cent of the US$861 requested by the UN in the 2016 annual appeal covering the needs of 7.3 million highly vulnerable Iraqis across the country has been received. The impact of under-funding for the operation as a whole has been enormous.