Mosul: Iraqi Red Crescent remains the only active organisation on the frontline

Published: 25 November 2014 12:08 CET

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC and Mohammed Al Khozai, IRCS

“We miss ordinary life. We have been living without electricity for a long time and we have no work. All what we do is getting out of the house to the street and back inside,” says aid Abu Riad, a 50-year-old man who lives in a suburb of the Iraqi city of Musol.

“Nothing has been functioning properly here since the onset of the latest events. We are living in the unknown and the future is also mysterious. We have lost many relatives and neighbors who have left the city,” he adds.

That’s how Abu Riad describes his life in Mosul since the latest acts of violence broke out in the city back in June, causing a deterioration of the humanitarian situation and paralysing state institutions.

For more than five months, Mosul has been in a state of complete blackout and has been experiencing a fuel crisis, that in addition to the huge hike in the prices of food and other types of goods that increased by five times from their original value.

“The city has been isolated from its surrounding, and all crossings have been closed except for the one with Syria,” says Abu Riad, explaining the reasons behind these challenging conditions in Mosul.

Further aggravating this reality is the deterioration of the economic situation and the rise of an unprecedented unemployment rate, which were mainly caused by the breakdown of state infrastructure and the lack of job opportunities in Mosul. Moreover, hospitals in the city have been suffering from a shortage of medical supplies and personnels as many doctors had to flee their homes.

The worsening living conditions and the deterioration of the security situation in many parts of Mosul, have forced more than 17,290 families to leave their homes and live inside unfinished buildings, schools and markets in the city centre.

“We tried to escape the city after we felt threatened by ongoing violence but we couldn’t. We had no choice but to take refuge inside a shop in Mosul,” says Om Omar, an Iraqi woman who used to live in the Mosul Dam area.

“We haven’t received any help or aid except for the food parcels, blankets and heaters distributed by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS),” she remarks.

Mr Fallah Ayoub, the head of the Red Crescent branch in Mosul, says: “These families were forced to leave their houses because of the ongoing fighting in their hometowns, and had to come to the city centre which is witnessing dire humanitarian conditions.”

“They have very limited options and their needs are increasing. We are helping them through the distribution of food parcels and relief kits,” Mr Ayoub added.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society is the only humanitarian organisation actively working in Mosul nowadays. The organisation’s volunteers have so far distributed food parcels for 10,000 individuals, heaters for 450 families, 4,500 blankets and 891 lanterns.

Furthermore, the Iraqi Red Crescent’s Prosthetics Centre is currently helping people with special needs through producing prosthetic parts and providing maintenance for them. Since the eruption of the latest wave of violence, 500 persons with special needs have benefitted from the Centre’s services.

“Despite the tough humanitarian conditions in the area and the difficulty of receiving basic materials needed in the manufacturing of prosthetics, the Centre managed to help all people with special needs who sought our help,” assures Mr Ghanem Jassem, the head of the Iraqi Red Crescent’s Prosthetics Centre in Mosul.