A family displaced by fighting between ISIS and Iraqi security forces carry their belongings as they walk through the destroyed western neighbourhood of Al Mamum, near Mosul, Iraq.
BAGHDAD/HONG KONG, 13 July 2017 – Although the battle for Mosul is coming to an end, children’s deep physical and mental scars will take time to heal. Some 650,000 boys and girls, who have lived through the nightmare of violence in Mosul, have paid a terrible price and endured many horrors over the past three years.
Some children continue to suffer in the pockets of violence that persist in the old part of west Mosul. One doctor we spoke to told us that infants as young as one week old, children and mothers were emerging wounded and covered in dust and soil, some were malnourished. The toll children are paying from living for nearly ten months under heavy fighting.
In the past three days, UNICEF and its partners have seen an increase in the number of extremely vulnerable unaccompanied children arriving at medical facilities and reception areas. Some babies brought in have been found alone in the debris.
Unaccompanied infants and children who arrive at trauma centres and assembly points are immediately referred to UNICEF and other humanitarian organisations so they can be assisted and where possible reunified with their families.
The needs and the future of children must remain a top priority in the weeks and months to come. UNICEF reiterates its call on all parties to the conflict in Iraq to treat all children as children, wherever they are born, whoever they belong to. Now is the time for them to recover, overcome their trauma, reunite with their families and reclaim some of their lost childhood.