Media CenterCRS Ready to Help Iraqis Fleeing Mosul Violence
CRS and Caritas Prepared to Respond
With the military operation to re-take Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) underway, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and partner Caritas Iraq are prepared to respond to the needs of those fleeing the fighting. CRS and Caritas are meanwhile assisting thousands of people fleeing an on-going offensive against ISIS in Hawija.
“We’ve been getting ready for Mosul for months by training additional staff and volunteers,” says CRS Iraq Country Representative Hani El-Mahdi. “We’re confident that we’ll be able to respond quickly as the situation evolves.”
Tens of Thousands Expected to Flee
According to the United Nations, almost 18,000 people have fled from Mosul district and surrounding areas since fighting began on Oct. 17. Tens of thousands more are expected, joining the approximately 3.3 million Iraqis who have been internally displaced since ISIS began taking over parts of Iraq in 2014.
To meet the needs of those leaving Mosul, CRS and Caritas have staff and volunteers ready to deploy across Northern Iraq and Kirkuk implementing an emergency response that will focus on providing shelter, water and sanitation, and cash assistance, giving priority to the care and protection of women, children, the elderly and the disabled.
Winter Is Coming
“We are very worried,” El-Mahdi says. “These large numbers of displaced people are expected just before cold weather sets in. The arrival of winter could pose an unmanageable challenge.”
El-Mahdi also fears that aid will not be able to reach a significant number of affected people who remain in Mosul or are trapped behind ISIS lines.
Since 2014, CRS and Caritas have helped more than 150,000 displaced Iraqis by providing shelter, water and sanitation, as well as living supplies and education. CRS and Caritas have a presence across Iraq, with offices in Dohuk, Erbil, Kirkuk and Baghdad. Most recently, CRS and Caritas have responded to the needs of those who fled the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Hawija.
It’s estimated that more than 10 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid throughout the country.