Humanitarian situation in Iraq's Mosul "catastrophic"

Concern is growing for thousands of civilians who remain trapped in Mosul as Iraqi forces and their allies prepare for a final push to liberate the city from Daesh.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Displaced Iraqis who had fled their homes wait to get into Hammam al-Alil camp south of Mosul, Iraq May 1, 2017

Iraqi Vice President Osama al Nujaifi has warned the humanitarian situation in Mosul has become "catastrophic."

The Iraqi army has been trying to dislodge the Daesh terrorist group from its last stronghold in northern Iraq since October. The campaign has been backed by US-led coalition air strikes and local allies on the ground.

Much of the city and the surrounding areas have already been liberated as Iraqi forces close in on the well-guarded Old City as well as the Daesh-held northwest Mosul. An Iraqi general on Sunday predicted that the final push to rid the city of Daesh would take three more weeks.

But concern for the safety of civilians, who Daesh have used as human shields, has slowed operations down.

"The situation is catastrophic amid famine and lack of food and medicine, which make the city live an unbearable situation," Nujaifi told a party meeting late on Sunday.

Iraqi Vice President Osama al Nujaifi said hundreds of thousands of families have heeded government calls not to leave their homes in the city.

Monitors have warned that Mosul's civilians are living in tough humanitarian conditions as a result of the months-long siege on the city due to the lack of essential services such as electricity.

According to the Iraqi authorities, 400,000 civilians have been displaced from Mosul's western part since the start of anti-Daesh operations there in February.

Daesh captured the city in mid-2014, and it was from Mosul that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" over parts of Iraq and Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies