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Future of 1.2 million civilians in Mosul hangs in the balance, aid agencies warn

20th Oct 2016

As foreign ministers prepare to discuss the Mosul offensive in Paris today, Oxfam along with Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee and the Norwegian Refugee Council have released this statement: 

As the international community meets in Paris today to discuss the Mosul offensive, the future of 1.2 million civilians - including at least 600,000 children - trapped in the city hangs in the balance. With the start of the offensive, families face an impossible decision. If they stay inside Mosul, they risk being killed by heavy weapons and used as human shields by ISIS, or being caught in cross-fire, shot by snipers or stepping on landmines if they try to flee. Even if they reach safety, there is currently no guarantee that they will be able to get the shelter and the help they  desperately need, as humanitarian actors race against time to ensure critical support is in place. All the forces involved in the offensive - Iraqi and coalition alike - must do everything possible  to protect civilians from the ongoing conflict.

The Government of Iraq must be supported to establish genuinely safe routes, prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and considerably scale up the humanitarian response.  Plans must be developed and implemented now to secure reconciliation and durable solutions for those affected by conflict. Failure to achieve this today could lead to catastrophic consequences for Mosul's children and their families, as well as Iraq's future.

Ends

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

In London: Kai Tabacek on ktabacek1@oxfam.org.uk / +44 (0)7584 265 077


In Iraq: Mohammed-Ali Abunajela on MAbunajela@oxfam.org.uk / +964 773 408 3120

For updates, please follow @oxfamgbpress