The battle for the retake of Mosul – children caught in crossfire
Children and their families are at serious risk as the Iraqi army, together with a US-coalition and Kurdish fighters, launch their offensive to retake the Islamic State (IS)-controlled city of Mosul. Terre des hommes (Tdh) is providing emergency help to people fleeing along one of the key migration routes to areas south of Mosul.
The situation of displaced people due to the military operations in and around Mosul could turn into one of the biggest humanitarian crises of this year: “Emergency camps will not be ready to receive all the people and we think that a lot of settlements will be very informal. We expect a large number of children, arriving with their families or alone. The people who manage to flee are exhausted and have brought little or nothing. Their basic needs will need to be covered rapidly," says Marc Sere de Rivieres, Tdh’s country representative. Tdh has been present in Iraq since 2014 and has most recently set up operational bases in the corridor from Mosul towards Baghdad, which now serves as a migration route.
Tdh has improved the situation of people who have fled IS-controlled regions earlier this month. With private boats, which Tdh provided fuel for, children and families crossed the river Tigris out of IS-held areas into Al Shirqat, leaving gun fires behind. Upon their arrival on the safe side, exhausted and thirsty, the families were directly provided with safe drinking water and information on where to go. Tdh is distributing hygiene emergency kits to families affected by the conflict in Qayyarah and will soon do the same in Al Shirqat for more internally displaced people, including unaccompanied minors.
Thanks to its previous experience in Iraq, Tdh is well placed to protect the affected children and provide the internally displaced families with water. In the coming weeks, we will intensify our help, especially focusing on emergency aid including kitchen, winter and baby equipment, as well as providing latrines, showers and child friendly spaces.
Photo credit: © Tdh