Now that Iraqi forces have just breached into the city of Mosul, the Norwegian Refugee Council warns that this will decide not only the fate of 1.2 million Iraqis, but of the entire country.
“In the last weeks since the final Mosul operation started, we’ve seen thousands forced to flee their homes, families separated, many civilians injured and others killed by snipers or by explosive devices,” said NRC’s Country Director in Iraq, Wolfgang Gressmann. “We are now bracing ourselves for the worst. The lives of 1.2 million civilians are in grave danger, and the future of all of Iraq is now in the balance.
“People in and around Mosul have lived for almost two and a half years in a relentless, terrifying nightmare. We are now all responsible to put an end to it.”
People trapped inside Mosul city and thousands displaced from surrounding villages are in desperate need of food, water and medicines. As the fighting intensifies in the streets of Mosul over the next hours and days, it will be more and more difficult for humanitarian aid and services to reach those in most need.
Since 17 October—the day the military operation to retake Mosul started—around 18,000 Iraqis were displaced from their homes. Many have fled to newly opened displacement camps that are quickly filling up and can house no more than 54,000 people at the moment, while more are being constructed. Since the start of the operation, NRC has supported more than 6,270 women, men, and children with emergency aid, education and psychosocial services.
“Beyond the basic aid for survival, the countries involved in this military operation are responsible for the future of Iraq,” Gressmann said. “That means investing in Iraq’s children, giving them back their childhood, and making sure they have a future to look forward to while being able to put behind them this dark chapter of horror and neglect.”