Iraq: Mosul Humanitarian Response Situation Report No. 21 (13 February - 19 February 2017) [EN/AR/KU]

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 21 Feb 2017

Highlights

  • Humanitarian partners have mobilised to respond to humanitarian needs resulting from new military operations in western Mosul city launched by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) on 19 February. The initial humanitarian impact of these advances during the first few days of the offensive was not high, as security forces moved through sparsely populated hinterland areas where most civilians had already fled and due to the Iraqi Security Force’s (ISF) continued adherence to the humanitarian concept of operations.

  • Efforts are being made by humanitarian partners to accelerate and expand site capacity in Hammam al Alil, Qayyarah and Haj Ali, and to support government efforts to expand displacement sites in Ja'dah and Al Salamiyah through the provision of water and sanitation services.

  • Although UN missions to neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul were temporarily postponed during the week due to security considerations, front-line partners were able to continue delivering assistance. Following a new security risk assessment, UN humanitarian agencies resumed their missions in eastern Mosul on 19 February.

  • Although civilian trauma rates on the first day of the new offensive in western Mosul were limited, trauma rates remain generally high, with many trauma cases requiring referral from eastern Mosul city to Erbil city, largely as a result of indirect fire, drone-borne grenade attacks and suicide attacks.

  • Significant shortages of drinking water remain a primary humanitarian concern in eastern Mosul city.

Situation Overview

Humanitarian partners have mobilised to respond to humanitarian needs resulting from new military operations in western Mosul launched by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) on 19 February. The initial humanitarian impact of these advances was not high during the first few days of the offensive, as security forces moved through sparsely populated hinterland areas where most civilians had already fled and continued adherence to the humanitarian concept of operations by the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

Emergency relief, consisting of food rations, water supplies and essential supplies will be provided to people in newly accessible villages as soon as security allows. As the fighting reaches more heavily populated urban areas a variety of possible scenarios could unfold, including providing assistance to people displaced by the fighting and to people sheltering in place. As many as 250,000 people could flee the fighting in the west of the city. Given the narrow streets and high population density in western Mosul city, particularly in the Old Town area, civilians are at great risk of being caught in crossfire, and infrastructure is likely to sustain significant damage. Efforts are being made by humanitarian partners to accelerate and expand site capacity in Hammam al Alil, Qayyarah and Haj Ali, and to support government efforts to expand displacement sites in Ja'dah and Al Salamiyah through the provision of water and sanitation services.

Although civilian trauma rates on the first day of the new offensive in western Mosul were limited, trauma rates remain generally high, with many trauma cases requiring referral from eastern Mosul city to Erbil city, largely as a result of indirect fire, drone-borne grenade attacks and suicide attacks. From 17 October 2016 to 16 February 2017, over 1,754 wounded civilians have been sent to Erbil’s main hospitals to receive trauma care. Between 8 January and 16 February, the 50-bed type II field surgical hospital in Bartalah treated 572 civilians for trauma injuries. Humanitarian partners have established two new Trauma Stabilization Points (TSPs) south of Mosul city. The need for trauma care in relation to West Mosul is likely to increase as efforts to retake West Mosul will intensify.

Although UN missions to neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul were temporarily postponed during the week due to security considerations, front-line partners were able to continue delivering assistance. Following a new security risk assessment, UN humanitarian agencies resumed their missions to eastern Mosul on 19 February, including explosive hazard assessment and clearance activities. A humanitarian partner began preparation activities for the distribution of emergency multi-sectoral assistance packages in eastern Mosul city on 19 February, but these activities were paused following a security incident in another part of the city.

Since fighting began on 17 October 2016, more than 217,000 people have been displaced from the eastern sections of Mosul and surrounding areas, with 57,000 people having returned to their areas of origin, primarily to eastern Mosul city. At least 550,000 civilians remained in their homes during the fighting in eastern Mosul. On 19 February, 159,936 people were living in displacement. A net increase of approximately 8,000 people living in displacement occurred in the last week, largely due to a decrease in the number of returns taking place, particularly returns from Hasansham and Khazer camps. For the first time since mid-January, the number of new arrivals at camps has been higher than people returning to their area of origin. This has been largely attributed to increased insecurity in eastern Mosul city.

The extensive development of markets in close proximity to newly accessible areas of eastern Mosul city has reportedly meant that food insecurity is primarily a result of low income levels, which are exacerbated by limited employment opportunities. Food is also reportedly available in western Mosul city markets, but the availability of commercial supplies is growing smaller, as supply routes to this part of the city have been cut since the beginning of November. The availability of fresh food stuffs such as vegetables, meat and fish is most greatly impacted. Prices of some food stuffs, such as sugar and potatoes, have reportedly more than doubled likely causing significant strain particularly on vulnerable families.

Significant shortages of drinking water remain a primary humanitarian concern in eastern Mosul city. Humanitarian partners are currently trucking an average of 2,300m³ of water per day to 28 neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul city. The Al Sahroon water treatment plant (WTP) had recently begun supplying 70,000 residents in four surrounding neighbourhoods with piped water at a rate of 2,000 m³ per hour, and was providing an additional 1,000 m³ per day of trucked water to 12 other eastern Mosul city neighbourhoods. The generator of this treatment plant was struck by indirect fire on 19 February, rendering the plant inoperable. Many neighbourhoods in the southern and western parts of western Mosul city also have no access to the public network and are potentially accessing untreated drinking water. The re-establishment of a functioning city-wide water network is a key priority.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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