Nearly half a million residents of the city of Mosul in northern Iraq are facing a “catastrophic” situation due to the lack of drinking water and electricity. Clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIS fighters are also taking place in the city.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande said that “Nearly half a million civilians, already struggling to feed themselves day to day, are now without access to clean drinking water.” She also told AFP that “The impact on children, women and families will be catastrophic.”
The clashes that are taking place in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, have led to a disruption to the transportation network for safe drinking water.
Iraqi forces, supported by the US led international coalition, have been fighting to expel ISIS from the city of Mosul, which is the last of ISIS’ biggest strongholds in the country, for the last six weeks. Many residents from a number of neighbourhoods in the east of the city where anti- terrorism forces are making gradual and slow progress confirmed that water had not reached them via the distribution network for days and that many were forced to fetch water from wells as a result.
Mohammed Khalil, 25, a resident of the Khadra neighbourhood that was liberated recently, said “We do not have water or electricity, we drink water from wells but it is not sufficient”. Iman Bikr, 34, is the mother of three children and lives in a neighbourhood that was seized from ISIS fighters. She said “Water is the most important thing. We fear that we will get lice because we do not have baths and we are not able to clean our homes”.
More than 70,000 people have fled their homes since the start of the operation to liberate Mosul on the 17th of October, but more than a million people still live in Mosul, 600,000 of whom live in the eastern side of the city.
A medical source at the Qoukagle centre which is situated at the eastern entrance of the city confirmed that cases of diarrhoea and intestinal colic have been reported, especially amongst children, because they have been drinking impotable water”.
Abu Ali, a resident of eastern Mosul, expressed his fear of “epidemics”, and a number of residents of the city said air raids carried out by the US led international coalition have caused damage to pipes transporting water from the western side of the city.
Basma Naseem, the President of the city of Mosul’s council, accused ISIS of deliberately cutting off water from eastern neighbourhoods with the progress of Iraqi forces there. She pointed out that “there are efforts to provide water via trucks that transport tanks to the neighbourhoods that have been liberated”.