UN Secretary General calls for more aid as people flee Mosul
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 03 March 2017| 05 Rajab 1438
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday called on world powers to increase aid to help people fleeing the Iraqi city of Mosul which government forces have been battling to retake from Daesh.
Iraqi forces have seized back most of the country’s second-largest city from the Sunni hardline group in a massive six-month campaign.
But at least 355,000 residents have fled fighting, according to the government, and some 400,000 civilians remain trapped inside the densely-populated Old City where street battles have raged for weeks.
“We don’t have the resources necessary to support these people,” Guterres told reporters during a visit to the Hassan Sham Camp, one of the several centres outside Mosul packed with civilians escaping the fighting.
The UN and Iraqi authorities have been building more camps but struggle to accommodate new arrivals with two families sometimes having to share one tent.
“Unfortunately our program is only 8 percent funded,” he said, referring to a 2017 UN humanitarian response program without giving additional details.
During his visit, which lasted about half an hour, residents complained to Guterres about the quality of drinking water and poor living conditions in tents frequented by mice and insects.
‘We are fed up’
Saqr Younis, who fled to Mosul when Daesh arrived in his village in 2014, says: “We want to go back to our villages. We are fed up.”
“If we had died by bombardment it would have been more merciful,” said Saqr who has been in the camp for four months.
Many of the displaced have returned to their homes in areas retaken from Daesh but some, like Saqr, have not yet been allowed to return by the authorities.
The militant group overran about a third of Iraq in 2014, benefiting from the Sunni-Shia rift that weakened the army. Iraqi forces have won back control of most cities that fell to the group and the militants have been dislodged from nearly three-quarters of Mosul but remain in control of its centre.
Source – MEMO