The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Fillippo Grandi arrived in Erbil on Monday to discuss humanitarian aid preparations for the hundreds of thousands of people expected to be displaced from Mosul as well as addressing the needs of those who remain in the city.
He told Rudaw that he has discussed the displacement of people from Mosul with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other Iraqi officials, and he is now in Erbil to meet with Kurdish officials as well on this.
His message in his meetings, he said, is that we "need to be well prepared and we are stepping up that preparation."
He also stressed that they must ensure preparations are made for the cold weather as winter approaches.
Grandi also urged that a humanitarian strategy be addressed hand-in-hand with the military preparations. "There is a military strategy for this battle but that should include protection for the civilians."
In New York, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, told Rudaw’s correspondent Majeed Gly on Monday, “Our first priority is that the people of Mosul are safe and they will be liberated from Da’esh,” using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
“Our focus is on the humanitarian wellbeing of the population of Mosul.”
He also thanked the Kurdish people and region for hosting many refugees and internally displaced persons and added that the UN is working with both governments in Baghdad and Erbil to reach a political agreement for governance of Mosul post-ISIS.