Over 630,000 people displaced in Mosul: UN

 13 May 2017 - 11:56

Over 630,000 people displaced in Mosul: UN
Civilians are seen at a youth center when the clashes between Iraqi soldiers and terrorist organization Daesh continued to retake Iraq's Mosul at Carulla village of Al Makhmour town in Nineveh, Iraq on March 26, 2016. (Hemn Baban - Anadolu Agency ).

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GENEVA: More than 630,000 people have been displaced in and around Mosul since the beginning of military operations there last October, the United Nations said Friday, citing Iraqi authorities.

“This includes more than 434,000 displaced from western Mosul since mid-February,” Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), told reporters at the UN’s Geneva headquarters.

In October 2016, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- began a wide-ranging operation to retake Mosul, IS's last bastion in northern Iraq, which the terrorist group overran in 2014.

Mahecic said: “Six months into the Mosul offensive, the UNHCR remains concerned about the continuing massive displacement.

Despite enormous risks, the number of people fleeing West Mosul shows no sign of slowing down.” “The risk to people fleeing Mosul is now very great, with people having to move despite being in grave danger. People speak of conditions that are desperate and worsening. Families arriving from West Mosul report heavy bombing and fighting,” he added.

He added that fleeing people told the UNHRC that the city lacks basic services such as food, water, and fuel. Mahecic also said that the refugee agency has opened its 12th camp -- sheltering nearly 500 children, women, and men in total -- in northern Iraq this week to shelter people fleeing the fighting in western Mosul.

He also warned of the lack of funds for the UNHCR’s current humanitarian activities: “Our programmes in support of refugees and internally displaced in Iraq are currently only 18 percent funded,” he said, adding that only $105.1 million out of $578 million has been received.

“This situation now threatens our ability to effectively respond to the immediate and mounting humanitarian needs in Iraq this year,” he added.