World Vision Iraq
article • Monday, October 17th 2016

An anticipated 600,000 children 'will need years of support' after Mosul offensive

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Families who fled areas around Mosul arriving at Debaga camp

Children fleeing Mosul following the ongoing military offensive to re-take the city from ISIL will need years of specialist support to rebuild their lives, World Vision warns today.

Up to a million people could leave the city, which has been occupied since June 2014, and head towards camps. The routes they are likely to take, and how long it will take to escape, remain unclear. Half of those leaving are likely to be children.

“We’re already supporting half a million people who fled Mosul when it was first occupied over two years ago. We’re now poised for another massive influx of children and families who will have been through horrific experiences most of us could never imagine" Khalil Sleiman.

World Vision is working around the clock to pre-position supplies of food, clean water and hygiene kits. Child friendly spaces– safe places where children can find some normality in the chaos and receive psychological support – will be set up in camps where displaced people arrive.

Khalil Sleiman, World Vision’s Response Manager for northern Iraq, said: “We’re already supporting half a million people who fled Mosul when it was first occupied over two years ago. We’re now poised for another massive influx of children and families who will have been through horrific experiences most of us could never imagine.

“They will arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back and will be thirsty, hungry, and need urgent medical attention.

“The violence will also have taken a devastating emotional toll on children, many of whom will need years of specialist support to rebuild their lives, come to terms with what happened, and to regain some kind of normality.

“Children always bear the brunt of conflict and we call for humane treatment at every stage of the process of the Mosul operation – including screening when boys as young as 14 may be separated from their families.”

The aid agency is also raising concerns that identification documents may have been confiscated during ISIL occupation, which could lead to issues with registration. Separating fathers from the family for protracted periods during screening may also make families for vulnerable, the charity has warned.

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