68,000 civilians displaced by Mosul liberation

Geneva, Nov 22 (IANS) At least 68,100 civilians are believed to have been displaced from the Iraqi city of Mosul by the campaign to liberate it from the Islamic State militant group, said the International Organisation for Migration on Tuesday.

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the number was smaller than the one announced several days ago as, despite 8,300 people having fled in the last 72 hours, many others had begun to return to their homes, Efe news reported.

The organisation said it was unable to tell exactly how many people had returned to Mosul and was not aware if they would be staying definitively or were just checking the state of their homes after two years of militant occupation.

Millman said nobody had yet gone back to Mosul, where fighting is going on between Iraqi forces and the IS.

“Making sure displaced people as well as affected communities are receiving assistance is more critical than ever as temperatures are close to freezing at night,” he warned.

Around 67,000 people are currently displaced in the Nineveh region, with 53,300 living in refugee camps, 10,700 in private homes and 4,000 staying in shanty towns.