Crisis in Mosul

What's happening in Mosul
and how is Unicef helping children?

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Home > Helping children in Mosul, Iraq

In October 2016 Iraqi forces launched an offensive to take control of the northern city of Mosul from ISIL. To date, over 790,000 civilians have now fled the city and the conflict between ISIS and government forces is reported to be in its final few days.

Most displaced people are now in newly-constructed camps, or are sheltering in abandoned buildings. There are just under 30 displacement camps around the city, where we’re providing support to families fleeing the conflict.

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Mohammed’s story

Mohammed used to live in Mosul with his mother, father and nine younger siblings. “Our life was good in Mosul until they [ISIS] came from nowhere and war started,” he says. “We used to go to school but they even destroyed that.” As the conflict escalated, life was becoming more and more dangerous and three years ago, Mohammed’s father was killed.

After several failed attempts, Mohammed finally escaped, leaving behind his mother and nine siblings. It wasn’t until three months later that Mohammed’s mum, brothers and sisters were able to flee. “I didn’t know anything about him for three months,” says his mother. “I didn’t know if he was alive.”

Unicef staff were able to bring the family back together and they’re now living in safety in a camp outside Mosul.

Mohammed was separated from his family after fleeing from Mosul.

Unicef reunited Mohammed with his family after they fled the conflict in Mosul.

When I saw my mum, I was so happy. I hugged her and started to cry
Mohammed, who fled from Mosul

This story is not unusual. There are thousands of children like Mohammed in danger of being separated from their family. In the chaos following the liberation of Mosul, we’ll be on the ground, working to help children and families rebuild their lives.

How is Unicef helping children in Mosul?

As tens of thousands more people, half of them children arrive at reception sites on the outskirts of Mosul, we are there to meet them. Our colleagues are providing emergency food, water and dignity kits, and supporting the local government by trucking clean water into the city.

For children and families living in transit sites and camps in the surrounding area, we’ve supported at least 35,300 newly-displaced children to go back to school in temporary learning centres. As the fighting subsides in east Mosul, around 320 schools have reopened with help from Unicef, allowing over 258,000 children to get back to learning.

“These neighbourhoods were gripped by violence,” said Peter Hawkins of Unicef Iraq. “Today, girls and boys are heading back to class. After the nightmare of the past two years, this is a pivotal moment for the children of Mosul to reclaim their education and their hope for a better future.”

On 23 January, students go to class at a school in eastern Mosul. Schools are starting to re-open as part of the Ninewa Directorate of Education’s efforts to bring back regular classroom learning to children in the city after over two years of closure under ISIL control. Heba, Noor, and Janna are back in class at a recently re-opened school in eastern Mosul. UNICEF Iraq/2017/Anmar

Heba, Noor, and Janna are back in class at a recently re-opened school in eastern Mosul.

You can help children affected by the ongoing conflict in Mosul. Make a donation today.


Help keep a child safe during the Iraq conflict

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