UNHCR adding camp capacity for new Mosul displacement
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, this week opened Chamakor, its latest camp in the Mosul area, to manage the spike in displacement triggered by the recent Iraqi offensive to recapture the western parts of Iraq’s second city.
Capacity is rapidly filling in camps to the east, while those to the south are full. Over 195,000 are currently sheltering in the 21 camps built by UN agencies and the government around Mosul, and there is currently space available for up to 109,000 new arrivals in existing camps.
UNHCR is building two additional camps near Mosul (Hasansham U2 to the east, and Hammam Al-Alil 2 to the south) for another 39,000. It is also erecting 19 tented halls in the government-built Hammam al-Alil camp to serve as reception centres and transit area, and is examining expanding capacity in camps north of the city. The biggest challenge remains finding suitable land to build new camps.
Chamakor, east of Mosul, received its first 200 residents Monday. More arrivals are expected Tuesday and through the week. It is ready to immediately receive 6,600 people.
Hunger and insecurity have been cited as key factors in the decision to flee by newly displaced families, who told UNHCR of armed groups attacking areas recently retaken by Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), causing sustained civilian casualties.
The newest arrivals are in a desperate condition, visibly traumatized, hungry and dehydrated. Many arrived without shoes and wearing soaking clothes, having walked long distances to reach safety at government checkpoints. Some had left relatives behind, hoping to be reunited once they are able to find safer exit routes from west Mosul. Families recounted surviving on one meal a day – flour and water, sometimes supplemented by bread or tomato paste – over recent weeks.
Currently there are 211,572 Iraqis displaced by the fighting in Mosul, with over 50,000 added since the beginning of the latest operations in west Mosul, launched on 19 February.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
- In Geneva, Matthew Saltmarsh, [email protected], +41 79 217 31 40
- In Iraq, Caroline Gluck, [email protected], +964 780 920 7286