Aid groups are bracing for a possible worst-case scenario as the battle for Mosul continues: up to a million people could be driven from their homes by the fighting. But there’s an even more dire possibility than this:
Most of these people could flee in the "wrong" direction.
As we noted last week, most of the aid waiting for fleeing families is north of Mosul—in the safer, more accessible Kurdistan region.
But that’s not where most families are fleeing right now. During the first three days of fighting, 5,600 people were driven from their homes. According to a recent UN report, they are “moving in two directions: south and southeast of Mosul.”
Even for established aid groups, getting into these areas can be extremely difficult. The risks are greater, too. Much of the territory south of Mosul is right on the front lines, in some cases only a few miles from ISIS positions. Many of the roads are littered with IEDs. And in some cases, Iraqi forces have moved through villages so quickly on their northward push toward Mosul that ISIS militants simply return or come out of hiding after they’ve moved on.
There are also reports of Sunni Arabs fleeing north, only to be told by militia groups fighting ISIS that they have to turn around and flee in the other direction.
All this means the largest number of people are running toward the smallest amount of aid.
These dangerous, hard-to-reach areas are exactly where we’ve been working all along, greeting families on the front lines with food, water, tents, and medicine. Preemptive Love is one of the few aid groups already responding in the southern Mosul corridor, where families are fleeing.
So far, we've served close to 73,000 refugees—with 400,000 pounds of food, 3 million liters of water, and 3,000 hygiene kits to prevent the outbreak of disease. We’re also providing emergency medical care for those injured by ISIS.
But more must be done. Otherwise, up to a million families will flee ISIS only to find... nothing. No tents, no food, no water, no help.
Help us serve on the front lines, meeting families where they are. When you give toward relief efforts in Mosul, you’re showing up in the hardest, most underserved parts of Iraq.