UN concerned for civilian safety following airstrike on a hospital compound in eastern Mosul [EN/AR/KU]
(Baghdad, Iraq, 30 December 2016):
The United Nations is deeply concerned about possible civilian casualties following an airstrike that hit the Ibn-Al-Athir hospital compound in Mosul yesterday. The Spokesperson for the Combined Joint Task Force has confirmed responsibility for the strike.
“Families trapped inside Mosul are already extremely vulnerable and in need of protection,” said Lise Grande the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “It is crucially important that all parties do everything possible to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law, both during and after the conduct of hostilities. This is a collective responsibility.”
Civilians inside Mosul face alarming risks. The United Nations is particularly concerned by the significant increase in trauma injuries over the last month. Since 19 December, almost 1,000 people have been referred from Mosul to hospitals in Erbil with trauma injuries.
“Nothing is more important than the sanctity of life,” said Ms. Grande. “Protecting civilian infrastructure is also crucial. As military operations push deeper into the inner urban districts of Mosul, the utmost care must be taken to avoid damaging hospitals, schools, water stations and other infrastructure that sustains civilians. We appreciate the efforts being made by the Combined Joint Task Force and Iraqi Security Forces to limit destruction--and call upon all parties to conduct hostilities in ways which are consistent with international standards and humanitarian law.”
To date, 118,000 people have been displaced by the military operations to retake Mosul. In a worst-case scenario as many as 1 million people could be forced from their homes. Since the intensification of military operations on 29 December, a further 2,000 people have fled the city.
The UN and partners are providing life-saving assistance to people wherever they can be reached, including neighbourhoods in eastern Mosul city. Since the start of the military operation, 359,000 people have received emergency relief items in recently-retaken parts of Mosul and the surrounding area.
For further information, please contact:
Kate Pond, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq, firstname.lastname@example.org /+964 (0)782 780 6086.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.