Alliance2015 prepares for the "single largest and most complex humanitarian response in 2016"

Mosul, Iraq, 19.10.2016
This is a joint statement of all Alliance2015* members

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul

Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, was captured by ISIL in June 2014 and has since served as the group’s de facto capital in Iraq. 
A major military offensive to retake the city has now commenced and will continue over the coming weeks and months.
Military operations have been underway since summer 2014 and a renewed offensive began in March 2016. Already, over 200,000 people have been displaced from their homes. As the military campaign continues towards Mosul, an additional 230,000+ are expected to flee from cities and towns in Anbar, Salah-Al-Din, and Ninewa, and up to 660,000 people will be displaced along the Mosul corridor – an area south of the city comprising a number of camps in various towns and cities.

What are the humanitarian consequences of the Mosul offensive?

Within Mosul city itself, it is estimated that between 1.2-1.5 million people are living under ISIL control, a significant number of which are expected to flee the city confines, seeking protection and shelter in neighbouring areas and villages.
In a worst case scenario, many civilians may be killed or wounded by the fighting. Civilians will be at extreme risk during the military campaign from cross-fire, snipers and artillery barrage.
Infrastructure in already retaken areas has sustained significant damage, and similar levels of damage are expected within the city and surrounding areas. Areas retaken from ISIL have been often contaminated with improvised explosive devices and surrounding areas mined.
In areas where displaced families currently reside, host communities and service providers are overwhelmed and under-capacitated to provide sufficient support. As such, there remains concern that the same will be the case for areas into which newly displaced families are likely to take refuge. These families will most likely require urgent assistance which will further strain the existing resources of the host communities.
The humanitarian response will require a well-coordinated, efficient and rapid response. Millions of dollars are required to provide basic life-saving services not only to the existing 3.3 million displaced persons in the whole of Iraq who endure protracted displacement, but to the approximate 1.5 million more who may be displaced by the offensive to retake Mosul. Within the emergency humanitarian response, considering that there is expected to be heightened military presence and limited services, conflict-mitigation must inform the inter-agency approach to provide humanitarian assistance without increasing social tensions that may already exist.
The humanitarian response is set to be huge. So huge, in fact, that the coordinating UN body OCHA claims that the humanitarian operation related to the Mosul offensive is likely to be the single largest and most complex response of 2016.

How does Alliance2015 plan to respond?

Three Alliance2015 partners are currently active in Iraq – Welthungerhilfe (WHH) acting as Alliance2015 Country Lead Agency, ACTED and People in Need (PIN). Together the Alliance2015 partners have developed a preparedness and response strategy to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to those displaced from Mosul. Our focus now is on the preparation to meet the most vital emergency needs. The Alliance2015 partners will prioritise supporting newly displaced families from Mosul and surrounding areas, who will be hosted in camps, emergency camps or informal settlements which may include collective centres organised inside schools, or abandoned/unfinished buildings.
Through collaboration and close coordination the Alliance2015 partners will be able to share resources, tools, local expertise and structural support; minimising our expenses and maximising our impact. Our goal as an alliance is to have the widest possible humanitarian reach and ensure that the response is coordinated, relevant and harmonised.

What will we provide?

We are currently preparing to support displaced persons across a multitude of sectors. We will support families’ access to WASH services, making sure that they have access to clean drinking water and providing emergency toilets, showers, and solid waste management.
We will also support families’ access to shelter, food and other necessary non-food items such as blankets, heaters, cooking sets, mattresses, water containers, hygiene kits and more. Our support to camp coordination and management will also be very important given the vast numbers of people expected to be hosted in camps. Alliance2015 partners have strong combined humanitarian experience supporting displaced persons, not only in Iraq but in countries all over the world.
We expect that people will leave their homes with only that which they can carry. From what we have witnessed amongst internally displaced people (IDPs) whom we support already, families can leave with nothing but the clothes on their back and may not know where they will be going or how long they will have to be on the move. Shelter, food, and hygiene items will be crucial to their survival.
Children will be greatly affected by the displacement. In order to provide some stabilising support for vulnerable children and youth, Alliance2015 will be supporting displaced children with access to education and child protection services.

PIN’s Emergency Programme Manager for Iraq, Dominika, explains the logic and added value of our combined response as Alliance2015:

“I really believe that working in Iraq as Alliance2015 makes our response more effective – each organisation specialises in different area: PIN is Education Cluster Co-chair for Dohuk Governorate, ACTED is one of the few NGOs working in Rapid Response Mechanism, WHH has large experience in cash transfers, cash for work programme and generally in the Livelihoods sector. It makes us stronger and thanks to planning emergency response together, we are able to avoid overlapping of activities and wasting precious resources and time.”

Iraq humanitarian overview

Over 3.3 million civilians have been displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands of families are struggling to survive throughout Iraq. By the end of 2016, it is predicted that as many as 12-13 million people in Iraq – over one third of the population – may require some form of humanitarian assistance.

* Alliance2015 is a strategic partnership of seven European non-governmental organisations engaged in humanitarian and development activities. Alliance2015 members are ACTED (France), Cesvi (Italy), Concern Worldwide (Ireland), HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (Switzerland), Hivos (The Netherlands), People in Need (Czech Republic) and Welthungerhilfe (Germany). Alliance2015 partners aim to fight poverty more effectively by cooperating on various levels, working together in the least developed countries, and influencing and campaigning together at the EU level.