ROME, Aug 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - People in the western part of Iraq’s devastated city of Mosul have received their first major delivery of aid since Islamic State militants captured the city in 2014, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday.
The agency began distributing food and other essential items last week and aims to reach more than 64,000 people in West Mosul, which was recaptured by Iraqi forces on July 10.
Much of West Mosul has been destroyed by fighting. Homes, roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, electricity plants and water systems are in ruins, ICRC said.
Many people are living in their ruined houses, said Layal Neaimeh, deputy head of ICRC’s sub-delegation in Mosul.
They include the few who stayed throughout the military offensive, families who returned home and those displaced from other neighbourhoods.
“They are in quite a desperate situation.... They don’t have any resources to purchase the already-limited goods available on the market,” she said.
“Families have no stocks of food whatsoever. They don’t even have half a kilo of rice,” she said, adding that many were living off tea and bread.
People are also being wounded by unexploded ordnance hidden under the rubble of their homes, ICRC said.
Nearly 1 million civilians fled Mosul in the last three years, according to the United Nations.
Islamic State turned the city into the stronghold of a “caliphate” they said would take over the world.
A 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shi’ite militias launched an offensive to recapture the northern city from the militants in October, with key air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition.
They cleared East Mosul of militants in January. (Reporting by Alex Whiting @Alexwhi, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women's rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit news.trust.org/climate)