The number of displaced Iraqi families from Nineveh sheltered at refugee camps across Mosul has surpassed 55.000, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement. Minister Jassem al-Jaff said Wednesday that 55.190 families (291.042 refugees) are currently sheltered at refugee camps across Mosul, where a U.S.-backed security campaign has approached a seventh month to eliminate Islamic State militants from the city. According to the minister, 120.000 refugees have so far returned to their homes in eastern and southern Nineveh. Last week, the ministry said refugees from Nineveh, Kirkuk’s town of Hawija and Salahuddin’s town of Shirqat reached 526.281 since operations were launched to clear Nineveh from IS militants in October 2016. Those include 467.210 refugees from Nineveh, 41.774 from Hawija, Kirkuk, and 17.297 from Shirqat, Salahuddin, according to the statement. “We could be facing a humanitarian catastrophe, perhaps the worst in the entire conflict”, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday, commenting on the situation in Mosul.
The United Nations estimate more than 3.5 million displaced in Iraq and the number of Iraqi refugees fleeing turmoil at the city of Mosul and the Kirkuk town of Hawija has reached 125,000 since the start of security operations to retake Mosul.“The Ministry needs to coordinate more with the United Nations to cope with the continuous flow of migrants from Mosul and Kirkuk,” said the Minister.