Iraq: Mosul offensive threatens devastating humanitarian consequences
International organizations fear more than one million people could be affected
Cologne: It is feared that the ongoing Coalition military offensive against ISIS in Mosul will have enormous consequences for civilians displaced from their homes and caught in the crossfire. Malteser International is expanding its emergency relief efforts at what are anticipated to be among the first arrival points for people fleeing from Mosul and surrounding areas.
“The situation at the moment is unclear. Nobody knows what is really happening in Mosul,” said Sid Peruvemba, Malteser International’s Vice Secretary General “We are working from the assumption that hundreds of thousands of civilians are going to be severely affected by the fighting. The coming winter is set to worsen the situation considerably for those who are forced to flee their homes. The people in Mosul have likely had no access to medical assistance for a long time; so serious medical conditions and infectious diseases amongst the displaced people are a major concern.”
Malteser International has already deployed a mobile clinic to the Makhmour region, around 70km from Erbil, in order to provide assistance to civilians fleeing from the fighting. This is set to be joined by an additional facility working in the Dohuk region, which is currently being mobilized in cooperation with local health authorities. The staff at these mobile clinics will treat people suffering from acute and chronic illnesses, and help reduce the spread of infectious disease.
Over 3.4 million people have been forced to flee their homes by the ongoing fighting in Iraq. More than half of these are living as internally displaced people in the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, where the population has almost doubled in the last two years severely overstretching the capacity of local medical infrastructure. Since August 2014, Malteser International has been working to provide medical assistance to people living in camps for displaced people in cooperation with its local partners, and has been active in Iraq since 2004.