Battle for ISIS stronghold could trigger a new crisis: A million displaced Iraqis

The Washington Post reports: The battle for the northern city of Mosul could force a million people to flee their homes. But even before it begins, aid agencies are struggling to shelter families displaced by the conflict against the Islamic State.

The United Nations says it is nowhere near ready to deal with the fallout from the U.S.-backed offensive to retake Mosul from the militants, which could begin in less than a month.

The camps in northern Iraq are full. Debaga camp, 40 miles southeast of Mosul on the edges of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, was built a year ago for 700 families. It now houses 10 times as many people, most of whom fled fighting as Iraqi forces retook territory south of the city.

Crowds gather around reporters, hoping they are aid workers bringing humanitarian assistance. “Register me! Register me!” they shout. They complain they don’t have mattresses, medicine, milk for their children or diapers.

Many don’t have tents, with 1,100 families here waiting for shelter. They bed down in the classrooms and yard of the camp’s school and in the hall of a mosque. Some have slung tarpaulins next to walls in an attempt to shield themselves from the sun. [Continue reading…]

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