NRCs response to the Mosul crisis

As of 18 April 2017, an estimated 400,000 people are currently living in displacement as a result of the military operations to retake Mosul.

NRC has assisted over 200,000 people who have fled Mosul since the 25 February with lifesaving assistance - food, water and shelter.

NRCs emergency response

Since the beginning of November 2016, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people arriving at displacement camps around Mosul.

NRC has been scaling up our emergency response since October 2016, and has assisted over 200,000 who have fled Mosul since 17 October. 

On 29 December, military operations intensified, causing over 9,000 people to flee the city in the space of four days, according to UNOCHA.

Another offensive, to retake west Mosul from ISIS control began on the 19 February. The west part of the city is the most densely population, an estimated 750,000 Iraqis reside there – 400,000 in the old city. Initial reports indicate that they are experiencing  severe food, water, fuel and medical shortages.

“People are arriving in the camp with only the clothes that they are standing in. They are cold, exhausted and hungry – crying from either exhaustion or trauma or both. NRC and other aid agencies are meeting their needs for now but we fear what will happen as the wave continues and even increases,” NRC Country Director in Iraq, Wolfgang Gressmann on 24 January.

Still trapped in Mosul

750,000 civilians are believed to be still trapped under ISIS’s control in west Mosul so the worst may be yet to come. As the fighting moves towards the densely populated old city, we are growing increasingly concerned as to how civilians will be protected from the hostilities. 

NRC has spoken to many families who have fled east and west Mosul. They consistently tell of us the hardship they faced in the city due to the intense fighting and the severe lack of food, water and medicine. Hundreds of thousands are still trapped in the western part of the city. Ensuring they are protected from the hostilities is our top priority.

People are fleeing Mosul in their thousands every day. The conditions in the displacement camps are sufficient to meet their basic needs but agencies are working to improve the services available in the camps, including water and sanitation.

NRCs emergency response:
  • NRC is responding to the Mosul emergency providing emergency food parcels, drinking water, hygiene and baby kits to displaced families, providing legal assistance with registration and civil documentation, and educational activities for children. NRC has assisted over 200,000 who have fled Mosul since 17 October.

  • On 3 March, authorities recorded a dramatic increase in the number of people arriving at displacement camps around Mosul – over 13,000 on that day lone. We saw the increase in the need of food and water in the camps where NRC is handing out these lifesaving packages to people upon arrival. 

  • Between 3 March and 5 march, NRC provided  more than 20,000 people fleeing Mosul with emergency packages including bottled water, tinned food, soap and towels. 
  • Since 2010, NRC has provided humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) across Iraq and to Syrian refugees in the country. NRC has offices located in Anbar province, Baghdad, Erbil, Dohuk and Kirkuk.
  • NRC is part of the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) led by UNICEF and the World Food Programme, which enables us to quickly help newly displaced people with urgent life-saving assistance.
  • NRC has the capacity within its current frameworks to provide RRM supplies for 45,000 families; emergency shelter/NFI and hygiene items to up to 50,000 IDPs and emergency education for 3,600 children within the first three months of displacement.
  • Displacement estimates are high and critical gaps still exist in all sectors. NRC has been scaling up our emergency response since October 2016, and prepare to help up to 200,000 of the most vulnerable displaced people within the next months. 
Updated 8 March 2017
Humanitarian situation in Iraq:
  • Since 25 February 2017, over 45,000 have fled west Mosul and 156,000 people have fled from east Mosul and the Mosul corridor.

  • On 3 March, 13,350 were displaced. This is the highest number per day since the crisis began last October, and is a result of the latest offensive which began on 19 February.

  • On 5 March, tented plots to accommodate 70,000 people were available east and north of Mosul.

  • Serious concern remains for up to 800,000 civilians who are still living inside west Mosul.

  • Food, drinking water, medicine and basic household commodities are in short supply in the city.

  • Since 19 February, 500 people have been treated at trauma stabilisation centres for injuries as a result of the conflict.

  • Over 200,000 people have been displaced from the city of Mosul so far.

  • Since 17 October 2016, 33,047 people have been displaced in Ninevah governorate when Iraqi Security Forces and the U-led coalition started the offensive to retake Mosul city.

  • Almost 1 in 10 people in Iraq are internally displaced – more than 620,000 were newly displaced last year alone.

  • An estimated 11 million people are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance across Iraq in 2017. The Iraq annual appeal of USD861 83 per cent funded.


Updated 8 March 2017
Read caption © Norwegian Refugee Council. Source: NRC, OCHA.

A survey carried out by NRC among displaced Iraqis from Mosul in December 2016, found a remarkable majority optimistic about returning home one day and living safely in their country. Sixty per cent desired to return back to their homes as soon as conditions allow, and a similar percentage of Iraqis interviewed said they preferred staying in Iraq even if they had the chance to leave to another country. For the families who have returned to areas retaken by the Government, the conditions have barely improved. Many are living in unsafe conditions, without access to services, education, and job opportunities.

Providing emergency assistance

Since May 2016, NRC has provided emergency humanitarian assistance to families fleeing their homes in towns and villages around Mosul. Camps have been set up to assist those fleeing conflict. 

Under the harsh rule of ISIS

Newly arrived people in the camps describe a harsh reality under ISIS where everything has been strictly controlled, with little personal freedom. Children have been deprived of education, and young people tell us about inhumane punishment in ISIS prisons.

Just the beginning

According to NRC, the steep increase is just the beginning. Mosul has a large population that is comparable to that of Munich, Birmingham or Hawaii. It is estimated that at least 750,000 people are trapped inside the city. Many of these might soon require humanitarian assistance.

 “Thousands of people are fleeing every day from Mosul. We are meeting their immediate needs, but fear that the worst is yet to come  – hundreds of thousands of people are still trapped inside the city,” said Gressman.

Need for shelter

More camps have been set up in high speed. NRC are working in the camps distributing emergency food aid, water and hygiene kits, as well as organising education activities and psychosocial help for children.