The United Nations estimates that more than 100,000 people have already fled the area around Mosul, Iraq, and more are expected to flee in the coming weeks. Experts estimate that as many as one-million people may be displaced by the time the fighting begins. Mosul is Iraq’s second-largest city, and has been held by ISIS forces for two years now.
For months, Iraq’s political leadership and senior military personnel have been saying that they plan to take back Mosul this summer. Many US officials believe that this plan is premature and unrealistic. Iraq military forces, however, are moving forward with plans.
Iraq security forces are already conducting operations in Shirgat, which is south of Mosul, to cut the supply lines ISIS has been using to move supplies, weapons, and troops into Mosul and its surrounding areas. Iraqi forces have also been moving people out of nearby villages under the protection of coalition air support.
As more people are on the move, sheltering facilities are becoming overwhelmed. The Dibaga camp, for example, is overflowing with displaced civilians, leaving thousands without any shelter at all. Earlier this year, Iraqi forces cleared many areas in Anbar province, leaving an estimated one-million people homeless. It is estimated that more than 3 million people in Iraq have been displaced from their homes since 2014, according to UN reports.
In July, over a dozen countries promised funds of about $600 million to be used for humanitarian efforts. To date, however, less than half of that has been received. The United States, however, has spent nearly $800 million since the 2014 fiscal year on humanitarian aid.
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