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Iraq: life-saving aid for first families to flee Mosul

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2 November 2016

As the battle for Mosul in Iraq intensifies, the Red Cross is providing essential aid to around 10,000 people who have fled to nearby camps.

Delivered through our partners the Iraqi Red Crescent, the life-saving support includes food, water, shelter and health care.

People are being helped in two camps: one east of the city and one to the south, both beyond the reach of the fighting.

Hugh Fenton, head of the Middle East region at the British Red Cross said: “Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations have worked alongside other humanitarian agencies to prepare camps in strategic locations around Mosul.

“Stocks of relief supplies were stored nearby so that we would be ready to respond quickly.

“Families forced to flee their homes are now being given tents that house five members of one family, blankets, fresh water,   stoves and food parcels so that they  can cook and maintain family life. Health teams are also caring for those who are ill or injured.”

More expected to flee to the camps

Some of the people who fled to the camps walked through the night to reach safety.

“We were so worried the children would cry out during the night and we would be discovered,” said one mother. Anyone caught fleeing by rebel forces could face severe penalties and even death.

These families join 3.2 million people who already had to leave their homes in Iraq because of fighting. Up to a million people are expected to have to flee or need aid as a result of the battle.

Gyula Kadar, operations manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in nearby Erbil, said: “Local communities across the country are sharing the responsibility, taking in millions of displaced people.

“But even with the greatest will in the world they cannot accommodate a million more.”

The Red Cross and our partners now have enough relief supplies in place to support up to 800,000 people in and around Mosul. In addition to the tents and prepared supplies, the operation will include field kitchens to provide hot meals and mobile bakeries for fresh bread. Teams will also offer psychological and emotional support for people who have been traumatised by their ordeal.

Approximately 2,500 volunteers from the Iraqi Red Crescent will help people coming to the camps and are central to the operation’s success. 

“The Red Cross stands ready to help at all stages of the Mosul crisis, including when people first flee, during their time in the camps and when they get ready to return home,” Hugh said.

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