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Cold weather ‘complicates’ Iraq’s humanitarian situation – Around 90,000 flee Mosul

BAGHDAD, Dec 9, (KUNA): As if the chaotic scenario in Iraq was not enough, the arrival of harsh and cold winter season in Mosul had increased the suffering of displaced Iraqis fleeing from the ongoing military operation to rid the city from the so-called Islamic State (IS). According to government statistics, around 90,000 citizens have fl ed the city so far; however, the cold winter had become another issue that the authority must deal with to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

In their address to KUNA, a number of displaced Iraqis in Al-Kazer camp said though the situation in refugee camps — erected by the UN and other regional and international bodies — is relatively safe, the cold winter began to take its toll on them. Ammar Ibrahim, one of the displaced, said that the tent in which his family was living in had become a freezer due to the lack of adequate heating units and fuel.

The UN and other bodies could only provide so much to the displaced, but the situation is beyond human capacity, said Ibrahim. Hassan Abdulkareem, another displaced person, said that the cold weather is having a devastating effect on many of the camp’s elders and people with illnesses. The lack of medicine and suitable health facilities also adds to the dire situation, said Abdulkareem.

Speaking about the efforts to better the situation of the displaced, the camp’s coordinator Zarkar Obaid said that they were doing what they could despite of the odds.

He affirmed that blankets, fuel for heating units, and other necessities were continually being handed out to the displaced Iraqis, but all these efforts are being overwhelmed by what is going around them. The camp’s staff have informed the authorities and hopefully the situation will become better, said Obaid.

Iraqi government troops and local allies, backed an international coalition, launched on Oct 16, 2016 the Battle of Mosul, an operation aimed at finally riding the city from IS. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti trucks carrying humanitarian relief aid weighing 60 tons arrived at parts of Mosul which have been liberated from the so-called Islamic State organization (IS).

The aids will be distributed to families in need. Chairperson of Mosul Municipal Council Basma Muhammad Bassem expressed appreciation and gratitude to the State of Kuwait and its people for the humanitarian initiative represented by various relief aids, adding Kuwait was the first country to cooperate with the local government in Mosul to deliver aid to displaced people.

Bassem mentioned the support consists of a thousand baskets of foodstuff for a thousand families liberated from the Aden village siege recently. Another thousand baskets of foodstuff were distributed together with a quantity of water for other villages. Earlier, the United Nations issued a warning regarding the humanitarian situation in eastern Mosul due to the migration of more than 82,000 people and a significant number of the population in need of humanitarian support.

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