As the battle for west Mosul begins to intensify, more and more civilians are beginning to leave their homes in the city. The compact and densely populated nature of the western part of Mosul means that fighting on the ground has had a more detrimental effect on civilians living in the western side of the city than the east. This has meant that the number of displaced has been significantly higher over the last month.
According to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement, More than 180,000 people have fled west Mosul. Some 111,000 have sought shelter in 17 nearby camps and reception centres while many others have stayed with relatives. The Iraqi government says it can accommodate a further 100,000 displaced people in camps, but the United Nations says the numbers could rise way beyond that.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), humanitarian agencies are bracing for the possibility that an additional 300,000-320,000 civilians may flee in coming weeks. The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, has said that the aid operation for western Mosul is “far larger and far more complex” than in the east. Iraq’s immigration minister, Jassim Mohammed, said that the number of displaced people from both sides of of the city since the start of the campaign had reached 355,000.