(Vatican Radio) Iraqi forces slowly advanced Monday to retake the last patch of ground in Mosul where Islamic State militants are holding on to a tiny sliver of the Old City. The operation comes a day after the prime minister visited the soldiers to congratulate troops on the hard-fought battle.
As the conflict comes to an end the Norwegian Refugee Council is warning of the continued suffering of civilians.
The spokesperson for the organization in Iraq is Melany Markham. She explained to Lydia O'Kane more about the situation on the ground.
The NRC spokesperson says, “the major needs are for food water and healthcare. The people in West Mosul especially have been under siege for months and have been cut off from food, water and medical supplies.”
She also describes the difficulties of getting aid into the city for the people who need it most. “It is hugely problematic and one of the primary concerns for us is the water supply which has been almost completely knocked out…”
Attention will inevitably turn to the task of re-building this university city and the NRC is already trying to re-build schools, but as Melany Markham explains, “one of the huge problems for us is the number of unexploded bombs and landmines throughout the city. It’s estimated that around 30% of schools have some kind of unexploded ordinance in there, so we can’t go back into those places and re-build until they’ve been removed.”
Despite all that the civilians have gone through and the conditions they are living in, Ms Markham says they have shown “tremendous resilience”. The NRC also points out that is the responsibility of the international community now to help them rebuild their country and repair the divisions that helped to create the conflict in the first place,”