UN refugee agency opens two new camps as Mosul displacement continues
Posted: 2017-Mar-18 09.48.58 UTC+0800
UNITED NATIONS — As displacement from Western Mosul in north Iraq continues unabated, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is opening two new camps and asking donors for additional funding to help protect and shelter those forced to flee, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here Friday.
Some 255,000 people have been displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas since October, Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. "Last week saw the highest level of displacement yet, with 32,000 displaced between March 12 and 15."
UNHCR needs USD212 million to continue providing urgent assistance to internally displaced persons from Mosul and also for Iraqis who have crossed to Syria, he said.
The appeal includes a new request for an additional USD7 million in the next 10 days and USD30 million in the next two months, the spokesman added.
Mosul witnessed fighting between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State (IS/Da'esh) terrorists.
The Iraqi government force's advance toward Mosul came after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Feb. 19 the start of an offensive to drive the extremist militants out of the western side of Mosul, locally known as the right bank of Tigris River, which bisects the city.
Late in January, Abadi declared the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul, or the left bank of Tigris, after more than 100 days of fighting against IS militants.
However, the western side of Mosul, with its narrow streets and a heavy population of between 750,000 and 800,000, appears to be a bigger challenge to the Iraqi forces, according to UN estimates.
Mosul, 400 km. north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions. (PNA)