On October 16, 2016, the Iraqi military and international coalition forces launched a joint offensive to free the city of Mosul, Iraq from ISIS control. Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, is home to over 1 million people, and has been under ISIS control since 2014.
While the liberation process could take several months, perhaps a more dangerous situation is the immediate liberation of Mosul before stabilizing forces and preparations are made for the 600,000 to 1 million civilians who could become trapped in the city. And if Mosul is successfully liberated, hundreds of thousands of families who have been trapped behind enemy lines will likely flee to safety—generating new waves of displacement.
Often malnourished, ill, and with nothing but the clothes on their backs, these families will be in immediate need of medicine, food, shelter, and basic supplies.
“OCHA [United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarians Affairs] estimates that the Mosul operation will be the largest and most sensitive humanitarian crisis in the world in 2016, and it is vital that resources are made available now to make timely preparations possible.” – UN Assistance Mission in Iraq Representative