People fleeing Mosul offensive need genuinely safe escape routes
Melanie Kramers Senior Press Officer
29th May 2017
Commenting on news reports this weekend that Iraqi security forces are asking people to leave the Old City of Mosul as a new offensive has been launched, Oxfam's Country Director in Iraq, Andres Gonzalez, said:
"The people of Mosul have already suffered enough - the Government of Iraq needs to urgently establish genuinely safe routes so people can escape the fighting and get to the shelter and help they need. Those fleeing the city are traumatised and exhausted and must be able to reach safety, adequate water, food, shelter and healthcare.
"Families currently face a terrible choice between staying in ISIS controlled areas where many have reportedly suffered extreme violence and food shortages, or risking explosive devices and bullets to escape the fighting.
"We urge all parties to the conflict to abide by international humanitarian law, take all necessary measures to avoid harming civilians that stay in the city and protect civilian areas and infrastructure - including avoiding the use of explosive weapons with wide area affect."
Spokespeople available in Iraq and UK. Please contact Harriet Hernando: 01856 472217 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to editors
Fighting in recent months has already forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and these numbers could swell to almost a million as the offensive to retake the Old City gets underway.
Since the campaign to retake Mosul began, Oxfam has assisted more than 300,000 people affected by the conflict. Oxfam provides life-saving food, water, and protection in camps and neighbourhoods throughout Mosul district. Oxfam's work to rehabilitate the first accessible water plant has established the first native source of clean water in western Mosul city.