As Iraqi security forces fight their way street-by-street into the ISIL stronghold of Mosul, the United States, United Nations, and international NGOs are mustering as much preparation as possible to deal with the aftermath of the city’s liberation from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
“We’ve known for weeks and months [Mosul’s liberation] is coming,” a senior State Department official said. As such, the international community has “one of the best prepared responses to a humanitarian emergency that is expected that we have seen, certainly in a long time,” another senior State Department official added.
In Mosul, the challenge is daunting. Last month, the U.N. refugee agency’s top representative in Iraq, Bruno Geddo, warned the battle for Mosul could create “one of the worst man-made disasters” in years.
The numbers from the State Department speak for themselves:
• More than 34,000 people have been displaced since the operation in Mosul began.
• The U.S. is planning for a “worst case scenario” with as many as 700,000 people displaced after the Mosul operation.
• Food for 1.25 million people has been pre-positioned in anticipation of Mosul’s liberation. Beyond immediate supplies, the State Department said the U.S. and partners had food ready for 2.3 million.
• Medicine and medical equipment is stockpiled to serve 300,000 people with 100 ambulances at the ready.
• By mid-December, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees expects to have camps ready for 250,000 people.
• The international community has secured pledges of $2 billion to support the Mosul operation.