PREPARING FOR MOSUL
The humanitarian operation in Mosul is likely to be the single largest, most complex in the world in 2016. Military operations along the Anbar and Mosul corridors have already forced more than 230,000 civilians, including 85,000 people from Fallujah, to flee their homes in search of safety. In coming weeks, as the military campaign intensifies, an additional 230,000 people are expected to flee from cities and towns in Anbar and up to 660,000 people will be displaced along the Mosul corridor.
The majority of newly displaced families are moving towards areas under the control of the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
A significant number, however, are fleeing towards Mosul city and other Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-controlled areas. Although front-line partners are racing to provide support, virtually every camp and reception centre receiving newly displaced families is at full capacity.
With Fallujah now under Government control, the Mosul operation is being accelerated. In early July, the Iraqi military began dropping leaflets over the city, warning the civilian population to prepare for military action.
Up to 1.5 million people are likely to be impacted once the military operation advances into Mosul itself.
Although humanitarian partners have not been able to directly access Mosul since June 2014, reliable sources indicate that as many as 1.2 million to 1.5 million people are living inside the city. Once military operations begin, large-scale displacement is expected, either cumulatively over time, or suddenly and en masse.
Populations on the east bank of Mosul city are expected to flee towards safer areas in the Ninewa plains. Civilians on the west bank are likely to flee southwards to Tikrit, where services are available. A significant number of families will probably flee northwards toward the SyriaIraq border to retaken villages. Displacement towards ISIL-controlled districts, including Tel Afar, is also expected.
The impact of the Mosul military campaign on civilians will be devastating. Mass casualties among civilians are likely and families trying to flee areas controlled by ISIL are expected to be at extreme risk. Civilians who manage to escape will almost certainly be subjected to screening and possible detention and confinement.
Civilians under siege are likely to be at the highest risk of hunger, deprivation, lack of medical assistance and human rights violations. Families unable to exit areas for prolonged periods as a result of the military confrontation will probably suffer the most.
Families will require a broad range of life-saving and specialized assistance. The most immediate needs will be for water, food, emergency shelter, and medical assistance. Women and girls, particularly those subjected to sexual and gender-based violence, will require specialized support. Men and boys of a certain age who are likely to be targeted, arrested, detained or recruited will also require specialized support. Families used as human shields while fleeing the conflict will be severely traumatized, requiring highly sophisticated care and support; separated families and unaccompanied children will also need extensive help.
By year-end, as the Mosul crisis evolves, as many as 12-13 million people in Iraq may require some form of humanitarian assistance. Already, 10 million Iraqis are in trouble including over 3.3 million civilians who are displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands of families who are struggling to survive throughout the country, including in the Kurdistan Region where poverty rates have doubled in the past year.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.