William Lacy Swing visits Iraq to Assess Mosul Readiness

News Hour:

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing visited two emergency sites that are being established by IOM Iraq at Qayara Airstrip and Haj Ali, both in Ninewa Governorate east of Mosul. These sites are being constructed to shelter displaced Iraqis from Mosul.

Passing under the ever-present haze of burning oilfield fires—and pausing for Iraqi Security Forces to detonate two improvised explosive devices found near a temporary bridge spanning the Tigris River—an IOM delegation from Geneva and Cairo spent much of Saturday within a few miles of military operations which are expected to send thousands more internally-displaced Iraqis seeking haven east and south of Mosul.

Director General Swing assessed the progress of the emergency sites to evaluate the situation on the ground and IOM Iraq’s readiness to assist displaced populations—whose numbers as of Monday morning had climbed to 34,038 displaced since 18 October from Mosul district and the adjacent districts of Al-Hamdaniya, Tilkaif and Makhmur, as identified by IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix Emergency Tracking.

“I’ve been very impressed and reassured by what I have seen here today. We have enough tents on the ground at Haj Ali for 300 families. In less than two weeks we will have enough for 2,400 families, so with that progress I’m confident that we will be able to provide shelter for those displaced from Mosul,” said Director General Swing.

IOM is currently constructing two emergency sites. At the Haj Ali site, 100 tents provided by the Ministry of Displacement and Migration and a Rub Hall are currently being installed. At the Qayara Airstrip site 600 IOM-procured tents are due to arrive today, and 600 more later this week; four IOM Rub Halls and an additional two World Food Program Rub Halls have been constructed on site in preparation in order to store supplies.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Weiss, during his visit to the Qayara Airstrip said, “This work has been done very quickly and efficiently. Last week there was nothing here, and now we are ready to install tents.” Weiss added, “As military operations in Mosul corridor continue, IOM is responding to resulting displacement through a range of emergency response services: non-food item kits, shelter, livelihoods assistance, primary health care, psychosocial assistance and displacement tracking.”

IOM needed just eight days to prepare the site—which is 2.7 kilometers long x 300 meters wide, and divided into 250 blocks, each block containing 20 tent plots. Each tent is intended to accommodate one family of six people, allowing for initial accommodation for an estimated 30,000 people.

IOM plans to employ as temporary workers on these sites some 400 laborers, all of whom are from recently retaken areas. Director General Swing remarked that such employment opportunities are key tools to build resiliency in local populations “by putting money directly in peoples’ pockets.”

In addition to assessing the emergency sites, the Director General visited IOM’s mobile health team in Debaga camp. The mobile health teams are available in the camp at all times, and in the last four months have carried out over 35,000 health consultations.

IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix Emergency Tracking has so far identified 34,038 displaced men, women and children since military operations to retake Mosul began on 17 October, with significant population movements seen this past weekend. On Saturday, approximately 850 families from Kokjali and Markaz Mosul sub-district reached Hasansham M1 (MODM), IOM Iraq reported.

Approximately 80 percent of those recently displaced are from the district of Mosul. A total of 98 percent are displaced within the governorate of Ninewa others are in Fallujah district, Anbar and Makhmur district, Erbil.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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