Iraq Situation: UNHCR Flash Update - 14 July 2017
It could take up to a decade and hundreds millions of dollars to clear Mosul of explosives, according to U.S. State Department officials. Nine months of heavy combat and airstrikes have littered the city with unexploded ordnance including artillery shells and hand grenades. Large sections of Mosul have also reportedly been mined and booby-by extremist groups. Demining experts have quoted up to USD 200 million to cover the cost of clearance around key infrastructure in Mosul. More will be needed to clear the entire city.
Close to 10,000 sites and over 100km of roads severely damaged or destroyed in Mosul. According to the United Nations’ latest damage assessment, which was conducted with satellite imagery, residential sites have been the most heavily with close to 8,500 housing sites severely damaged or completely destroyed, most of them (close to 5,400) in the Old City. This analysis excludes sites with moderate damage that cannot be identified yet with satellite imagery.
Over 137,0001 families (an estimated 825,000 persons) who fled Mosul and its surrounding areas after October 2016, when military operations to retake Mosul began, remain displaced.
Significant decrease in the number of IDPs fleeing Mosul in recent days. In a recent development, all new arrivals at Hammam Al-Alil screening site, the main screening site located 20 kilometres south of Mosul, are coming from Hawiga district, 130 kilometres southeast of Mosul, which is still under extremist groups’ control. Most IDPs fleeing west Mosul are now directly transferred by the military to the east Mosul main screening site, near Ninewa Hotel. Only 15 families reportedly arrived at the site between 12 and 13 July. Of these, 10 families were transferred to the Bartella site which was recently opened by the Government east of Mosul.
UNHCR conducted a mission to Bartella on 11 July to meet with authorities and assess the situation at the camp. Through direct advocacy with the military in charge, UNHCR ensured that cases in need of medical treatment be transferred to a nearby hospital. UNHCR’s protection partner is onsite daily, along with child protection partners.
Demining and reconstruction are key to enable returns. Both the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the State Department have reportedly dedicated significant resources to warning civilians about the dangers of unexploded munitions and booby traps. At entry points into Mosul, humanitarian partners are handing out leaflets for residents returning to their homes and holding mine risk education sessions (MRE) in retaken areas, and in camps around Mosul, reaching over 86,000 persons so far.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) recently launched a portal allowing humanitarian actors to layer multi-sectoral damage assessments and plan area-based responses accordingly. Humanitarian partners have already completed 23,000 comprehensive household assessments (CHAT) in Ninewa Governorate, and enrolled close to 260,000 persons in ASSIST, the UNHCR digital assistance tracking tool currently being rolled out across the country in coordination with partners.
Of UNHCR’s overall funding requirements of USD 212 million in 2017 to provide protection, shelter and camp coordination and camp management assistance to IDPs in Mosul, USD 126 million are urgently required to meet critical needs of vulnerable children, women and men displaced from and returning to Mosul.