The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) commends the steps being taken during the battle for Mosul to reduce civilian casualties and adhere to the laws of war. This has helped reduce the number of people being forced out of their homes. However, the long and grueling battle for Mosul is intensifying and fighting is reaching the inner parts of the city resulting in a lack of water, food and medical care.
The International Committee is calling for access to the city to help those left inside. More than 140,000 have been displaced from Mosul and its outskirts. So far ICRC has reached nearly half that number with food and emergency relief items and is working hard to reach all those more recently displaced and in need.
The President of ICRC said during visit this week: “I have seen a lot of heavily destroyed villages which have been completely abandoned. People need food, health services and water and the real preoccupations of people is to leave the camps, to go back to a normal life.” In one of the recently retaken villages near Mosul, Tobzawa, the ICRC President met families who have just returned home from Khazer camp where more than 33,000 people are seeking shelter.
Abo Jabbar only spent 45 days in Khazer camp before deciding to go home despite having little to survive on. “We sold our cattle because we had to go to Khazer camp,” Jabbar explains. “We can’t use the land to farm because it is heavily contaminated and we don’t know if there are explosives so we could not plant or let our cattle go far.”
He continues: “There is no electricity and the water we have is from wells and not drinkable. Schools have been closed down for three years. There’s no source of income. None of the employees are receiving salaries. Only those who have retired, receive an allowance.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross has reached out to help people like Jabbar as they return home with food and emergency relief items such as cooking tools, hygiene kits and blankets. Beyond ICRC’s work repairing basic infrastructure, providing food and other essential help, the organization is focusing on reconnecting families who have lost contact with each other in the chaos of the fighting.
During his visit, the ICRC President saw a mother in Hasan Sham camp receiving news of her son. He said: “It's a great moment to see how a mother reacts when we are able to bring news about her son who is alive. They are worried about their son being detained but they are also relieved.”
Facts & Figures
In 2016, the International Committee of the Red Cross:
provided food rations and other essential items to nearly 1.1 million Iraqis
ensured access to clean water for nearly 2.5 million people.
provided medical supplies to health structures and primary health centers benefiting more than 1.14 million people.
More than 37,300 people were treated in physical rehabilitation centers supported by the ICRC. visited more than 45,000 detainees in 90 places of detention and delivered nearly 13,000 Red Cross Messages and 10,500 oral greetings.
more than 64,000 displaced people have received help to withstand the cold winter conditions including winter clothes and heaters
During the battle for Mosul, the ICRC is supporting more than 15 medical facilities with medicine, dressing kits, surgical instruments, and war wounded kits enabling medical staff to conduct hundreds of operations and treat more than 280,000 wounded people from Nineveh, Erbil, Dohuk, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin.