GENEVA, May 30 (Xinhua) — The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Tuesday that nearly 600,000 civilians have fled their homes since the Iraqi government started its second wave of military operations to recapture western Mosul from Islamic State (IS) in February.
According to the UN office’s latest figures, some 118,000 civilians remain trapped in IS-controlled areas, including the old city and neighborhoods bordering its northern fringes.
Baghdad has requested that civilians flee using “safe passages” along which specific areas have been set up to facilitate the delivery of critical aid, including water, food and medical supplies, to those escaping the war-ravaged city.
This request was given after the Iraqi armed forces began last week to concentrate efforts on recapturing Mosul’s old city and nearby neighborhoods from entrenched IS militants.
OCHA warned that the humanitarian needs of the displaced families and residents in newly recaptured areas remain severe, and that the shortage of clean drinking water is of “significant concern.”