UN Mosul aid 'millions short' as winter arrives

UN Mosul aid 'millions short' as winter arrives
As temperatures plummet in Iraq and thousands continue to flee the fighting in Mosul, the UN says its emergency response is only half-funded
2 min read
03 November, 2016
The UN has received less than half of the funding needed for Mosul [Getty]
The UN's Mosul humanitarian response is millions of dollars short of the funding it needs, as refugees brace themselves for winter.

UNHCR, the international body's refugee agency, this week begun distributing essential winter items to 1.2 million displaced Iraqis, including families that have recently fled besieged Mosul.

But the organisation has only received less than half of the $196.2m it needs to deal with the huge humanitarian task - $60m of which is required for winter provisions.

"Winter assistance is vital to ensure that displaced Iraqis and refugees can protect themselves against the cold, and it will be critical for Iraqis displaced from Mosul in the winter months," said UNHCR's Iraq representative Bruno Geddo.

Distributions of winter kits - comprising six blankets, a heating stove, plastic tarpaulin, kerosene jerry cans, water can and insulation kits for tents - are underway in camps and host communities and will continue until February, UNHCR said.

Cash assistance and kerosene are also being provided.

More than 20,000 people have been displaced since the start of the military offensive on October 16 to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants.

Currently UNHCR has five camps ready to receive people displaced from Mosul and surrounding towns and villages. Hasansham camp in Erbil Governorate is already hosting more than 2,000 people while Zelikan camp in Dohuk is now home to 2,325 people.

Every day 10-15 families arrive at Debaga camp, also in Erbil governorate, but it is already full.

UNHCR has 27,000 tents ready in Iraq that can shelter 162,000 people. This figure will rise to 40,000 tents (240,000 people) by the end of November and 50,000 tents (300,000 people) by mid-December.

UNHCR also plans to supply 50,000 Emergency Shelter Kits (ESKs) which will provide additional shelter solutions.

Meanwhile aid agencies have warned grave dangers await those trapped in the city as government forces advance.

Extremists may use them as human shields, massacring anyone standing in their way, with hundreds already executed by IS for disobedience.