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UN: 8,000 civilians flee Mosul's west

UN: 8,000 civilians flee Mosul's westNearly 8,000 people have fled from western Mosul and its surrounding villages since military operations to retake the city from Islamic State began on February 19, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday.

The UN humanitarian aid office said those who fled and reached government-controlled areas south of Mosul were exhausted and dehydrated. Emergency kits of food and water have been distributed to 8,800 people in camps and emergency sites, in addition to distributions to displaced people moving to these locations.

OCHA says aid agencies and the Iraqi government are expanding displacement sites in the area.

OCHA also reported high level of initial trauma casualties, with over 75 civilians treated at trauma stabilization points near front line areas. From October 17, 2016, to February 22, 2017, over 1,776 wounded civilians were sent to Erbil’s main hospitals to receive trauma care.

The humanitarian situation is desperate for an estimated 750,000 civilians who remain in western Mosul. Since November, western Mosul has been cut off from its supply routes, in particular the highway from Mosul into Syria.

Meanwhile, the significant shortages of drinking water remain a major humanitarian concern in eastern Mosul city. Civilians in many neighbourhoods in the southern and western parts of western Mosul city also have no access to the public network and are potentially accessing untreated drinking water.

Last week, Iraq launched an offensive to rout IS from Mosul, with the support of the U.S.-led coalition. Iraq declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" in January, after three months of fierce fighting.
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