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The international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger is preparing a large-scale emergency response to assist civilians expected to flee Mosul as the military offensive on the city begins. In the very early morning on October 17th, 2016, military operations to reclaim Iraq’s second-largest city from the Islamic State began. Action Against Hunger deployed its emergency team about 51 miles from Mosul, in Erbil, and is prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced by the conflict.
Head of Action Against Hunger’s Emergency Pool, Charlotte Schneider, said, “Our main challenge is to anticipate where displaced people will move and to be adequately positioned to reach them with assistance. We have identified probable displacement routes, and our emergency stocks are ready, but the situation is unpredictable.”
For months, humanitarian organizations have analyzed different scenarios and prioritized emergency preparedness initiatives to coordinate an appropriate response to allow them to mobilize effectively and quickly. Action Against Hunger designed a flexible emergency response strategy for the Mosul crisis, knowing the situation would be volatile and difficult to predict.
“At this time, our most urgent priority is to deliver aid to those in need—as soon as people leave the city. We want to be first-line responders in the affected areas,” said Schneider. Two of Action Against Hunger’s program areas in Dohuk and Erbil, to the north of Mosul, will dedicate specific resources to deliver humanitarian assistance such as food, water, sanitation and psychological support.
Action Against Hunger’s mobile humanitarian teams will reach displaced families in areas north and east of Mosul, where a large influx of people fleeing the battle are expected to migrate. Action Against Hunger will also provide emergency assistance to displaced families in temporary sites where government authorities are planning to screen people seeking refuge.
Action Against Hunger is also planning longer-term assistance for displaced people in informal camps and settlements, providing food, cooking kits, basic emergency shelter, hygiene kits, as well as providing adequate access to safe building latrines and showers, and offering psychological support to people affected by violence.
Action Against Hunger plans to deliver assistance to an estimated 90,000 people fleeing conflict in Mosul. Since the beginning of 2016, the organization’s existing programs in Iraq have reached 250,000 vulnerable people.
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