Keep children safe in Mosul operation


Keep children safe in Mosul operation

Women and children sit in the hallways of a school building being used as a shelter for displaced families in the village of Haji Ali in Ninewa governorate. 

One in five schools in Iraq are currently out of use, putting additional strain on an already overburdened education system. UNICEF estimates that 3.5 million school-aged children do not have access to education, increasing their vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.

As of 21 September, 108 families were living Tinah Camp, a transitional displacement camp in Tinah village near the town of Qayyarah in Ninewa Governorate. The camp is located in a newly-retaken area with no basic services. In early September UNICEF began providing safe water to the camp to help children cope with the harsh environment. 

A military operation to retake Mosul and surrounding areas from the so-called Islamic State/Da’esh is underway, with military forces within 60 kilometres of the city.

Since March 2016, more than 160,000 people have been displaced from Mosul, Shirqat, Qayyarah, and surrounding areas. The UN estimates that by of end of the year, up to one million people from Mosul may flee their homes. 

In the coming months, UNICEF aims to assist up to 784,000 people displaced by conflict in and around Mosul, nearly half of them children.

More than 3.3 million people have been displaced by conflict in Iraq since early 2014.

© UNICEF/UN034965/Anmar

BAGHDAD/HONG KONG, 17 October 2016 – More than half a million children and their families in Mosul will be at extreme risk in the coming weeks, UNICEF warned today as a military operation to retake the northern Iraqi city gets under way.

“Mosul’s children have already suffered immensely over the past two years. Many could be forcibly displaced, trapped between fighting lines, or caught in the cross fire,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq.

UNICEF has prepositioned enough water, showers, latrines and hygiene kits for over 150,000 people immediately, with plans to reach over 350,000 over the next few weeks.

Mobile teams are on standby to care for the most critical cases of mental and physical trauma among the children.

Together with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF also has over 50 teams on standby to start a vaccination campaign against diseases like polio and measles.

“We are working around the clock to ensure that wherever the children are, UNICEF will be there with them,” said Hawkins.

UNICEF calls on all sides involved in the conflict to protect children and to respect international humanitarian law so that children and their families can safely get through this intense period of violence.