We are not ready for Mosul, UN rep tells Rudaw

By Majeed Gly 23/9/2016
Majeed Gly, Rudaw correspondent in New York: If the operation of Mosul starts today, how ready your teams are on the ground?

Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq: Part of the reason that a high level meeting we had today was so important, is we need funding in order to be ready for the Mosul operation. If the Mosul operation starts today, we are not ready. If we receive the funding that has been pledged today, then we have a chance to be ready. We talked about the priorities; the most important of those is to establish emergency camps that the people who are fleeing Mosul can go to. Then we have to make sure that there is food in the camps, latrines, and showers, that health care is available, that there is psycho-social support available for the people who are coming out from Mosul city and that have been living under ISIL occupation for so many years now. That is the sequencing of events. What we are been grateful for is that a number of member states of the United Nations, a number of countries, stood up and said this is the time to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq. This is the time to give generously, so that we can make sure that the preparations are in place for when Mosul happens.
Rudaw: You talked about the preparations as if they don’t exist yet, they are not ready yet, is that accurate description?
Lise Grande: There are some camps. The Ministry of Migration and Displacement has established a number of camps and is establishing more. The United Nation’s agencies have established some camps, and will be establishing many more emergency camps. I think the most important point about Mosul is to wrap our minds around the sheer enormity of what we are talking about. In the worst case scenario, as many as a million people could flee the city. So it is not just a question of a few camps - we are talking about literarily tens of camps, hundreds of camps that have to be built, and they need to be built quickly, because we all know that the Mosul operation is likely to begin in just the next few weeks.
Rudaw: How many people do you expect to flee Mosul when the operation of Mosul starts? How many of them will go to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq?
Lise Grande: The question of how many people will flee Mosul, in many ways this is going to be determined by the military operation, depending upon what happens during the military campaign, people will either feel that they can remain inside the Mosul safely or they are going to feel they don’t have any choice but to flee to safety, so the number of people to come depends upon the militarily what happens in the city. Humanitarians always plan on the worst case scenario, we hope for the best…
Rudaw: …what is the worst case scenario?
Lise Grande: Worst case scenario is that out of the 1.2 million to 1.5 million people who are in Mosul, that 1 million of them will leave, they flee. We are assuming that out of the million up to 700,000 people are going to need shelter. Our expectation is that those people are going to be able to stay in the Ninewa plains or to stay in the areas headed toward the border of Zummar, Wana and Rabea and those areas. And we also expect that a very large number of people, perhaps even as many as 350,000, will come south towards newly liberated Al Qayyarah and to Shirqat when that is liberated and into Salah al-Din, so in terms of the number of people who are going to Kurdistan, I think that the working plan is that the families stay in the Ninewa plains or they move south towards Qayyarah and Shirqat.
Rudaw: So how many people inside KRG like Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dahuk, are there any estimates?
Lise Grande: I think they are going to stay in the Ninewa plains or they are going to stay in Salah al-Din. That’s the plan.
Rudaw: What should KRG do to prepare for the influx of the Mosul operation?
Lise Grande: The key point about the KRG is the generosity that they have shown since the rise of ISIL and welcoming so many Iraqis, making sure that they are protected and providing assistance to them. And we know this is coming at the enormous cost for Kurdistan. One of the points I made in a high level meeting is the poverty rates in Kurdistan have literally doubled because so many Kurdish families have opened up their homes and welcomed people inside of them and that’s coming at cost. The point about what Kurdistan is doing now is they have very smart, very realistic plan and that plan focuses on families staying in the Ninewa plains and providing assistance to them there. One of the points we all reflected on is how important is that families are as close to Mosul as possible that they are not dispersed and they can get home as soon as ISIL is out and defeated and the key to that is having these emergency camps with assistance provided to them as near as Mosul as is safe.
Rudaw: The safety is a major issue isn’t it? That those camps, can you tell me who is going to provide safety especially in Ninewa plains and around Mosul and Zummar, are there any security arrangements?
Lise Grande: This is very important point because the IDPs, the people who are displaced, have to be in locations and they feel secure, so all the camps that are being established are done with the Peshmerga forces and the KRG forces. So for example in the areas of the Ninewa plains, we are discussing this with the governor of Erbil, discussions with Peshmerga forces about where is it safe - should go here or should go there. The security forces tell us where they think the best locations are and we look at the areas and together we agree on where they should go.
Rudaw: About funding, which country is the most generous statistically right now?
Lise Grande: The US Government. The US Government has recognized very early on that the humanitarian operation was very crucial for Iraq’s future and they have been generous [inaudible] in the last several years and very recently in providing emergency funding. But the scale that we are talking about is so big that we need lots of countries to support. The European Union has been very generous and the German government has [been]. The largest donation that was announced today was announced by the United Kingdom, they announced in [the] Washington conference in July a major contribution, and they announced a second major contribution today.
Rudaw: But this is not enough, is it?
Lise Grande: It is not enough, and I think we all recognize that if the funding does not come we can’t do the necessary to prepare and we are very grateful to countries that stepped forward but the world needs to know that the Iraqi people, people in Kurdistan, people throughout Iraq they are the ones who have been in the front lines in the battle against ISIL and they have done that on behalf of the entire world, the whole international community. That’s why we argue today at this meeting that it is time for the international community to stand in solidarity with people of Iraq, with the people in Kurdistan. This is the time to do that.
Transcript: OCHA Iraq


Home   |  UN Agencies in Iraq   |  UNAMI   |  Procurement   |  Job Opportunities   |  Contact us

Copyright © 2020 United Nations Iraq. All Rights Reserved.