Number of Mosul displaced is "overwhelming": UN

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Displaced Iraqi children bring relief items to their shelter in Hasansham (Iraq) in October 2016. Photo: UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

The number of people displaced by conflict in the Iraqi city of Mosul is "overwhelming" the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for the country said on Thursday.

According to Lise Grande, nearly 700,000 people have fled their homes since military operations began last October to retake Mosul from ISIL fighters.

This includes half-a-million people from the west of the city alone, she warned in a statement.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

Iraqi Security Forces have made rapid gains in north-west Mosul and ISIL terrorists are reportedly surrounded in the west of the city.

Amid the heavy fighting, Lise Grande, the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for the country, said that "very large numbers of families" are fleeing the city with nothing to support themselves.

Many of the displaced need food and have not had access to safe drinking water or medicine "for weeks or months", Ms Grande added.

The worry is that as military operations intensify, an additional 200,000 people may be displaced, and this is going to make helping them even more difficult.

Camps around Mosul now shelter 326,000 people and have space for another 42,000.

Construction is also under way at other sites around the northern Iraqi city to shelter another 39,000 displaced people in coming weeks.

Lise Grande said that without the help of host families who've taken in those fleeing western Mosul, the camps "would have been overwhelmed long ago".

To date, the US $985 million appeal for Iraq is less than 30 per cent funded.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’04″


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