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Over 100,000 Iraqis displaced since Mosul operation: UN

More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the Mosul operation began [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 December, 2016

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The number of people displaced by a massive operation to retake Iraq's second city Mosul, the Islamic State group's last bastion in Iraq, has surpassed 100,000, a UN agency said.

More than 100,000 people have been displaced as a result of the massive operation to recapture Iraq's second city Mosul, the International Organisation for Migration said on Sunday.

Iraq launched the operation to retake Mosul - the last Iraqi city held by the Islamic State militant group - on 17 October.

Since the battle began, 103,872 people have been displaced, the vast majority from Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, the IOM said on its displacement tracking webpage.

Iraqi Displacement and Migration Minister Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff told AFP that 118,000 people had been displaced since the operation started, a figure that includes those who fled the IS-held Hawijah area in another province.

Forces from Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service have advanced deep into eastern Mosul, and nearly half of that side of the city has been recaptured.

But forces on the southern front have stalled south of Mosul, and those north of the city have also not entered it so far.

West of Mosul, Iraqi paramilitaries aim to retake Tal Afar, located between the city and Syria, but have yet to launch an assault on the town itself.

IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces have since regained much of the territory they lost that year.

Aid organisations had warned that a million or more people could be displaced by the Mosul operation

Humanitarian condition

Aid organisations had warned that a million or more people could be displaced by the Mosul operation, but those figures have yet to materialise.

"We have been stepping up winter distributions, providing thermal blankets and quilts to 11,200 people around Mosul, and we plan to step up distributions in coming days to reach an additional 5,000 families," Adrian Edwards, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in Geneva.

UNHCR's Mosul emergency response fund, set at $196.2 million, is 57 per cent funded. The largest funding gap is for the winter programme and the agency is urging donors to help close the shortfall to prepare for possible additional displacement and help offset the miserable living conditions.

Assistance items distributed to the newly arrived families in camps include blankets, mattresses, stoves, plastic sheets, kitchen sets, quilts, insulation sleeping mats, tent insulation kits and heaters.

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