Caritas, Mosul, 13 million refugees

Mosul refugees are receiving emergency aid from Caritas. Up to 1.5 million people are expected to need immediate help, while about 13 million are likely to be displaced by the end of this year as the Mosul crisis develops.

The military offensive to root out ISIS militants from Mosul and surrounding villages will be a “huge challenge”, the United Nations (UN) has said.

The UN said it expects about 1.5 million people to flee the warfare in a short amount of time.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and other humanitarian agencies – including Caritas and other Catholic groups – in Iraq are scurrying to ready preparations.

It as it is believed the US-led assault could be pushed forward as early as September. But aid groups fear they may be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers involved.

The UN that as the Mosul crisis evolves, up to 13 million people throughout Iraq may need humanitarian aid by the year’s end – far larger than the Syrian crisis.

This would make the humanitarian operation in Mosul likely the single largest, most complex in the world in 2016.

Bruno Geddo, UNHCR chief for Iraq, told the US Catholic News Service that the United Nations has issued an appeal for the $284 million needed in part for the “preparation of camps ahead of the humanitarian emergency from Mosul”.

He said a cluster of camps needs to be built in six locations in disputed territory.

“Not only do you have to make sure that the location is not in the direct range in the line of fire,” he said, “but the terrain must be fit to build a camp.”

He said safety and security screenings were top priorities as Sunni Muslims flood out of Mosul, controlled by ISIS for the past two years.

Iraqi authorities will be charged with conducting the security screenings to identify ISIS collaborators.

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