18 October 2016 - As the military operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIL begins, Christian Aid and other aid agencies are preparing for a humanitarian disaster that could push tens of thousands of people from their homes.
Up to 1.5 million people could be affected by military operations in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. The UN has said it could be the single most complex humanitarian operation in the world today.
Civilians will be at extreme risk during the military campaign; the UN warns that they could be caught in the cross-fire and used as human shields, while tens of thousands of people may be forcibly expelled, trapped between fighting lines and held under siege.
More than 100,000 people were displaced from Mosul and surrounding areas earlier this year as Iraqi forces cleared the territory ahead of the critical battle. They join around half-a-million people who fled the city in June 2014, when ISIL gained control of Mosul after a week of heavy fighting.
Frances Guy, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East region, said: “Although the assault on Mosul has been long anticipated, it will be very difficult to help all those in need due to the sheer numbers of people affected and the fact that the surrounding area has already received large numbers of people displaced by earlier fighting.”
Ms Guy added: “Christian Aid has been providing humanitarian aid to those already displaced from Mosul and Fallujah: delivering food, clothing, blankets and hygiene items as well as cash transfers.
“Our local partners in the region are ready to respond in a number of locations where people are expected to seek refuge as the Mosul offensive gathers pace. We have sent funds to prepare food distributions for thousands of people and will continue to scale up our work to meet the humanitarian needs of those displaced by the conflict in Mosul.”
Nearly 3.5 million people in Iraq have had to leave their homes in the last few years because of conflict and many more are in need of basic support. In the last two years Christian Aid has reached more than 225,000 people, with food, clothes, hygiene kits, health services and cash assistance.
To find out more or to donate to the Christian Aid Iraq appeal please visit the website
If you would like further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Jo Rogers on 07969 083 371 and email@example.com. 24-hour press duty phone – 07850 242950
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.
3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter.
5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, see here.