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Monday 19 June 2017

Assault on Mosul, Iraq reaches a tipping point
Assault on Mosul, Iraq reaches a tipping point

‘It's turning from horrific to absolute hell for civilians trapped.’ Emergency aid standing by as the nine month assault on Mosul reaches a tipping point. 

With the final battle for Mosul in Iraq expected to play out in the coming days, the UN fears that up to 100,000 civilians still trapped in the city may be used as human shields by IS. Global disaster relief charity ShelterBox is standing ready to aid families who manage to escape. They say, ‘The military are talking about the beginning of the end, however the human suffering is far from over.’
 
The narrow and tightly-packed streets of Mosul’s old quarter are the last battleground between Iraqi forces and IS. It is three years since Mosul fell to so-called Islamic State rule, and now nine months since military action to retake the city began. 850,000 civilians have fled in that time, and up to 100,000 are thought to remain.

Woman and son inside a refugee camp in Iraqi-Kurdistan
Woman and her son inside a refugee camp in Iraqi-Kurdistan
 
United Nations Humanitarian Chief Lise Grande describes their condition as ‘desperate’ as they continue to face daily thirst, starvation and violence, with no access to healthcare or humanitarian aid. Iraqi forces have dropped leaflets urging residents to flee before the final battle. IS are reported to be shooting people that try to leave and welding doors shut so trapped residents can be used as human shields.
 
Aid agencies, including ShelterBox, are based within fifty miles of Mosul to help any families that manage to flee. Since October the number of escapees has exceeded the UN’s ‘worst case scenario’ of 750,000 that was planned for, said Grande. New displacement camps have been built and existing ones extended, but the system is oversaturated by numbers.
 
ShelterBox, experts in emergency shelter, are now focusing on highly portable aid kits for families on the move. Alice Jefferson and Rachel Hall are in Erbil working with partner agencies to prepare for Mosul’s endgame.
 
Alice says, ‘We are in Erbil working to provide emergency shelter and vital supplies to those most in need across the region via our dedicated partners. Fighting is intensifying in Mosul. A fresh assault has begun, and we hear reports confirming the start of what could be the final intensive urban battle.’
 
‘It's turning from horrific to absolute hell for civilians trapped. Numbers are unknown, but reports suggest up to 100,000. The military are talking about the beginning of the end, however the human suffering is far from over.’ 

#worldrefugeeday
 
June 20th, 2017 is the United Nations’ World Refugee Day. At present ShelterBox is responding to refugee crises in Syria and Iraq, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. A team will also shortly be heading to Uganda, which has the world’s largest refugee camp at Bidi Bidi, home to 800,000 people, many fleeing war in South Sudan. ShelterBox has a flexible range of aid including tools, tents, tarpaulins, solar lights and other equipment to create shelters or repair buildings where there is no other possible provision.
 
Chief Executive Chris Warham says, ‘Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes with no promise of safety where ever they end up. We are doing all we can, but I have looked into the eyes of a mother in a refugee camp and I know that we must do more. Please give to help us offer more support to refugees around the world.’ 





DONATE TO SHELTERBOX and help us to provide emergency shelter and lifesaving aid to families that have been displaced by conflict.

 
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