IOM prepares to build emergency sites for expected Mosul displacement

GENEVA, 14th October, 2016 (WAM) — To prepare for the expected displacement of people fleeing Mosul during military operations to retake the city from Daesh, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), at the request of the Government of Iraq and in collaboration with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, has agreed to construct emergency sites in Ninewa governorate.

These will eventually provide shelter for up to 200,000 civilians who may be displaced in the first weeks of the military operations, according to a statement issued by the IOM.

”Military operations to retake Mosul are expected to lead to mass forced displacement creating a complex humanitarian operation. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimates that up to one million people could be displaced, with an estimated 700,000 people needing humanitarian assistance, said the statement.

”Emergency sites can be established more quickly than standard camps and initially only include basic services such as shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and roads. However, the sites are designed to enable progressive improvements in order to meet and maintain minimum living standards based on the displacement context and timelines.

Four sites have recently been identified east of the city of Mosul and continuing south along the Upper Zab River, which are intended to initially accommodate up to 75,000 people. Site assessments have been conducted, and IOM has committed to preparatory work to establish these sites contingent on mine-clearance.

“These emergency sites will provide critical shelter for people displaced as a result of military operations,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Weiss. “Time is very much of the essence – the sooner we are able to start emergency site construction, the better the assistance displaced people will receive.”

Funding for IOM’s construction of emergency sites comes from the United States and the United Kingdom and currently totals USD 10.6 million. But an estimated USD 14.8 million funding gap remains for IOM to continue urgent construction of additional emergency sites to assist new IDPs.

IOM’s activities are part of larger coordinated efforts by the UN, NGOs and other partners to provide humanitarian relief to those affected by military operations.