Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Iraq

UN looks to avoid ‘mistakes of Fallujah’ in Mosul

By Glenn Field 31/10/2016
17,610 IDPs from Mosul and the surrounding area have fled since the military offensive began on October 17. Photo: Ivor Prickett/UNHCR
17,610 IDPs from Mosul and the surrounding area have fled since the military offensive began on October 17. Photo: Ivor Prickett/UNHCR
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – “Mistakes from Fallujah won’t be repeated” said a UNHCR representative as preparations are made for the unprecedented influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS. 

“There were many mistakes in Fallujah, a classic example of humanitarian failure,” Bruno Geddo, UNHCR representative to Iraq, told Rudaw. 

Fallujah was a major ISIS stronghold near Baghdad in the Anbar province that was liberated in June 2016. Humanitarian aid organizations struggled to deliver aid and accommodate civilians who fled the city. NGOs feared that people faced starvation and inadequate housing.

According to Geddo, services for IDPs who fled Fallujah were incredibly mismanaged largely due to the screening authorities. Geddo claims that the groups in charge of screening were mostly made of militia groups who mistreated the IDPs.

Shiite militias were accused of abusing the mainly Sunni population. 

“Protection of civilians is paramount,” Geddo said. “Meaning that when the security screening is carried out, it has to be carried out by a neutral institution force, the Iraqi security forces or the Peshmerga. This is key because the mistakes of Fallujah must not be repeated.”

He emphasized that in Mosul, it was important to ensure IDPs were given a decent reception and treatment with humanitarian teams involved. 

Another lesson learned from Fallujah was the failure to provide a safe corridor for people to flee from. According to Geddo, in Fallujah, as people were attempting to flee, ISIS was “hammering” them with snipers. 

And in addition to sniper fire, “people could step on the mines, get caught in the cross fire, or other ways get killed by ISIS,” Geddo explained.  

His understanding is that in Mosul, “the military is more prepared with a thoughtful plan to make sure civilians who feel that they need to flee can feel comfortable.” 

Other issues that plagued the management of IDPs from Fallujah involved insufficient fundraising. 

As Geddo explained, “donors normally don't fund contingency plans. They fund when the tragedy hits them on the screen. And by then it is too late. They fund humanitarian agencies to prepare for a disaster only when the disaster strikes. That was the case in Fallujah.” 

The UNHCR was under-resourced and under-prepared for the IDPs fleeing Fallujah. “We had set up six camps. We get 65 thousand people in three days. It is obviously impossible to have a tent, a roof upon every head within 24 hours. It is just not possible,” said Geddo.

According to the UN, 200,000 IDPs are expected to flee Mosul in the first weeks of the offensive. This number could escalate to as high as 1 million persons in the worst case scenario. 

Currently, the UNHCR has in place 21,800 tents, sufficient to cover the needs of 130,800 people. By the end of the year, the UNHCR will have in place 41,150 tents and 50,000 shelter kits, sufficient to cover the needs of 540,000 people. But what they are lacking is space.

“We have more tents than land to put them on. The land issue is full of problems. It can be contaminated. It can be too close to the frontline,” Geddo said. “There are maybe private owners that may be difficult to negotiate with. The topography may not be suitable to establish a camp because there must be a gentle slope. The neighbors of this land may refuse to receive these displaced people from a particular religious background.” 

As of Sunday, 27 camps and emergency sites have been confirmed and identified by humanitarian partners through a joint planning process to accommodate displaced persons. A total of 13,372 plots are currently available for 71,522 people. A further 64,522 plots are planned or under construction.

“We are hoping to get there by the end of the year but land is not easy to come by,” Geddo said.

The flow of IDPs seems manageable at the moment, but Geddo believes that it is “just the tip of the iceberg.”

However they are hoping that the people’s displacement will be “staggered over time so there will not be this flash and flow like in Fallujah, which would be a disaster.”

“If we get right the humanitarian assistance, if we get right the protection of civilians, it would be a significant contribution to try to turn the page on ISIS in Iraq,” Geddo continued. 

“I think we have a big responsibility because a botched humanitarian response, protection of civilians, may not work if the wrong actors are implicated.” 

Comments

 
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 1/11/2016
The UN can most-accurately be symbolized by a giant mouth, wide-open, yammering about things it has no control over. The UN envisioned at its founding is gone. Period.
Forked tongue | 1/11/2016
The UN is as useless as a breast on the bull.
2048 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Thinker | 6/27/2017 11:55:48 PM
I think Turkey is trying to distract American from Raqqa to safe Isis. It's time American withdraw from the incirlik base so that it give the...
BismarkPA | 6/28/2017 2:45:12 AM
Turkey is on its way to becoming a radical Islamic country, their president is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood which in my opinion is a terrorist...
Daily clashes between Turkish forces and YPG in Afrin
| 20 hours ago | (4)
Karen Cardona | 6/27/2017 5:47:59 AM
The details used to describe the film made me want to watch this documentary. I really feel what the author felt when he watched this movie. Every...
xingyu yang | 6/28/2017 1:22:05 AM
This is fantastic review. After read this story, I really want to watch the film. I never experience war but I don't like it. The details used to...
Kobani: Landscape of Resistance and Childhood Nostalgia
| 25/6/2017 | (11)
bain | 6/28/2017 12:06:17 AM
What this amateur is trying to say is if only the West helps Turkey slaughter some Kurds in Syria Turkey will immediately drop Russia and reinstated...
Guest | 6/28/2017 1:01:01 AM
Thank you Rudaw for publishing such a pro-Turkey/anti-Kurd article! Your editorial stuff should be given an "Anti-Kurd Journalistic Grant Prize" for...
Putin's men in the Turkish army
| 19 hours ago | (7)
bebegun | 6/27/2017 11:38:09 PM
They are most welcome to come visit anytime no matter if Kurdistan declares indipendence or not but it's not "their north", never was and never will...
Arab tourists fear losing their ‘Beloved North’ after Kurdistan referendum
| 21 hours ago | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Urban fighting, Old Mosul style: Grenade-range clashes in narrow alleys 5 hours ago |

Urban fighting, Old Mosul style: Grenade-range clashes in narrow alleys

Iraqi forces had liberated 50 percent of Old more
Arab tourists fear losing their ‘Beloved North’ after Kurdistan referendum 21 hours ago | (1)

Arab tourists fear losing their ‘Beloved North’ after Kurdistan referendum

The rest of Iraq calls Kurdistan “Shimal Habib” more
Kurdish armed party vows to ‘avenge’ deaths of 3 Peshmerga in Iran yesterday at 01:07 | (1)

Kurdish armed party vows to ‘avenge’ deaths of 3 Peshmerga in Iran

"We will avenge the blood of these martyrs." this more
0.329 seconds