Crisis in Mosul

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

Home > Helping children in Mosul, Iraq

On 16 October, Iraqi forces launched an offensive to take control of the city of Mosul, in northern Iraq, from ISIL.  We’re extremely concerned for the safety and well being of children and their families caught up in the fighting, both in Mosul itself and surrounding areas.

Up to 1.5 million people living in the city may be affected by the operation, and it is thought that up to half of those in danger may be children.  Hospitals, schools, homes, and other vital infrastructure have been destroyed or contain unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices.

In a worst-case scenario, one million people could be displaced and 700,000 could need emergency accommodation. Over 3 million people are already internally displaced within Iraq, and more than 4.7 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance.


A newly displaced woman carries a child at a check point in Qayyara, south of Mosul on October 31, 2016. Unicef/2016/Romenzi
Mosul’s children have already suffered immensely over the past two years. Many could be forcibly displaced, trapped between fighting lines, or caught in the cross fire.

Peter Hawkins, Unicef Representative in Iraq

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How is Unicef helping children in Mosul?

As a result of the offensive in Mosul, tens of thousands more people, half of them children, have had to leave the city. As these children and families arrive at reception sites on the outskirts of Mosul, Unicef is there to meet them.

Many of the new arrivals are coming in dusty, exhausted and uncertain about what is going to happen next. Some are barefoot. Unicef staff are reaching out to families, checking on the condition of their children and finding out if any of them were missing.

Chris Niles, Unicef Iraq Communications Specialist, met some of the children who received supplies from the Unicef-led convoy to Mosul including 10-year-old Maryam. As he was talking to her, a rocket exploded nearby. Maryam didn’t react.

“When a bomb goes off she doesn’t react,” said Mohammed, her brother. “It doesn’t affect her, it doesn’t affect any of us; we’re used to it.” Maryam remained oblivious to the noise as she collected a baby kit, a hygiene kit and high-energy biscuits — vital supplies for her family.

We have enough water and hygiene supplies for over 150,000 people needing immediate and longer-term humanitarian help as military operations move into Mosul.

On Sunday 13 November – for the first time in over two years – we were able to reach children and families in Mosul itself with much needed supplies, including water purification tablets, food, soap, toothpaste, nappies for babies, hygiene products for women and high-energy biscuits for children.


We have been active in Iraq since 1952, and are continuing to expand aid operations in country in response to this crisis.  However if current trends continue, and further resources are not found, humanitarian needs will rapidly outpace the response.

A donation of £58 could provide an emergency water and hygiene kit for two families affected by the crisis in Mosul. Please donate now to help us keep these children safe.

Linda, a Unicef worker in Iraq helps children who've fled Mosul

Maryam, 10, sits on her brother’s bicycle loaded with emergency supplies from the aid convoy. Unicef Iraq/2016/Niles

Maryam, 10, sits on her brother’s bicycle loaded with emergency supplies from the aid convoy.
Unicef Iraq/2016/Niles

Help keep a child safe during the Iraq conflict

Donate now