UN Readies to Help Civilians in Mosul, Iraq
United Nations, Jan 12 (Prensa Latina) The UN is creating conditions to help the civilian population in the western section of the sieged city of Mosul, which is still occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS), the organization''s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Lise Grande said.
In statements to reporters via a video-conference from Iraq, the UN expert said that 750,000 people are trapped in areas of the western part of Mosul, which has been controlled by ISIS since 2014.
The Iraqi Army and its allies started an offensive on October 17th, 2016 to liberate Mosul, a city of 1.2 million inhabitants.
Lise Grande said the military operation has managed to expel terrorists from up to 80 percent of the eastern part of the city, but that ISIS jihadists were still entrenched in the western part.
'If the siege against the western part of Mosul starts, civilians who are trapped will need our assistance,' said Grande.
The UN humanitarian coordinator added that the UN is studying the best ways of collaborating with other organizations to provide food and other resources. Air delivery from across the river dividing the ancient city has not been excluded.
'That's why, we are trying to increase help getting to the population in the western part of the city,' said Grande, who predicted a similar exodus to the one that took place in the middle of fighting to recover the eastern side of the city.
According to Grande, there are 450.000 residents in eastern Mosul, most of them are located in liberated territories.
The UN expert believes that the fight to expel ISIS from the west of Mosul will be bloody, due to the great number of homes and the narrowness of the streets.
She explained that new emergency camps were being built to accommodate residents who will join the many people who have already been internally displaced due to the fighting.
'We have nine refugee camps, six of them are already filled, but we are equipping others, while continuing humanitarian assistance,' she said.
Grande also reiterated the allegations of the UN about the murder of civilians and the use of human shields as tactics by the jihadists against the Iraqi's army advance.
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