Wednesday, 7 December 2016
SOS from Mosul
We continuously receive messages from friends and relatives in Mosul updating us. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Nearly one million civilians are trapped in between areas being targeted by either the American led coalition, the Iraqi army and Hashed Al Shabby militias, and ISIS. The media is only showing the suffering of the displaced people and exaggerating the advances of the army. The suffering of residents stuck inside of Mosul is being ignored almost completely. The situation can be summarized as below:
· There is little to no clean water because the water supply network and stations have been bombed. River water is being used where available. Areas that are not close to the river are trying to access groundwater from nearby farms. Some households have neither option as family members cannot leave their houses due to heavy shelling.
· In liberated areas there is no electricity. These areas comprise less than 15% of Mosul City. Other areas are getting around two hours in the morning and two in the evening from private generators due to lack of fuel.
· Household food stocks are running low. Some families have no food due to a lack of money or a lack of access. Deaths from starvation are expected soon. Families who stored food left it behind during forced evacuations by ISIS or the army in areas of engagement. Those families could take nothing with them and have nowhere to go with their children and their elderly. Their cars are also being confiscated for use in car bombings.
· In the Qadisiyah area of Eastern Mosul (where heavy fighting has been taking place the last few days), people have started burying their deceased in the gardens of their homes as they have no route to leave the house with the corpse or arrange for burial. They are living with the constant fear of a missile destroying their home any minute.
· Airstrikes by the American coalition have targeted complete residential buildings just to take out a single sniper with access to their rooftop. Similarly, the army is destroying houses with the use of ground missiles, regardless of whether they are occupied by families who could not leave under the heavy shooting and shelling.
· There are no hospitals currently under the control of the army. Injured or sick people need to be taken to Erbil which is a two hour ride away in clear weather. Most hospitals in Erbil do not have the capacity to handle the thousands of cases coming in from Mosul. With no money or resources, people from Mosul are not admitted for treatment. There is a serious need for mobile emergency hospitals in liberated areas.
· Hospitals inside Mosul also lack medicine for the most basic of diseases, as well as blood for transfusions or operations and other vital supplies.
As many of you know, American military experts estimated that this operation might take months to complete. With these dire conditions, a humanitarian crisis looms for the residents of Mosul.
The Iraqi government and the sectarian militias involved in the fighting do not have the training or equipment to divert the catastrophes resulting from the fighting. They do not have the capacity to worry about an alarming rise in the civilian death rate. In fact, the increasing casualty rate in certain areas serves the sectarian demographic changes being pursued by the current government.
The same could be said for the American Coalition which is fighting to push their own agenda and working out which areas to liberate and hand over to their allies the Kurdish Peshmerga, in order to secure Mosul oil reservoirs under their control.
In summary, the situation started out quite bad with multiple parties fighting with shocking disregard for civilians.
Dr Souad Al-Azzawi