GENEVA, 13th January, 2017 (WAM) — Nearly 13 weeks into the Mosul military operation against Daesh – which began on 17 October – over 144,500 Iraqis are currently displaced. The majority are in desperate need of life-saving humanitarian assistance, especially in the cold winter weather and rain.

According to IOM Iraq’s Displaced Tracking Matrix (DTM) the displacement count from 17 October through 12 January stands at 144,588 people.

According to International Organisation for Migration’s Emergency Tracking (DTM) between 5 January and 12 January, an additional 2,059 families (12,354 people) have been displaced as a result of Mosul military operations, amid fears that the western sector of the city will soon face a desperate siege.

The spike in Iraqi’s displaced population brought the cumulative numbers of IDPs to 26,862 families (161,172 individuals) since the offensive began on 17 October. Of these, 24,102 families (144,612 individuals) are still displaced – the rest are considered returnees.

Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande said that the possibility of a siege in the western sector was “very real”, adding that this would have enormous implications for the civilians trapped there.

Grande described the current operation to retake Mosul as “one of the largest urban battles that would have taken place since WWII.”

Planning for the “massive” humanitarian response that began last February has enabled workers to reach 500,000 people, she said.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Humanitarian aid is essential for the survival of the thousands of families displaced by Mosul operations, who have left everything behind to save their own lives. Assistance must provide for a range of needs – including shelter, household items, health and livelihoods. IOM is pleased to be providing this assistance, in cooperation with the government and humanitarian partners, but funding and humanitarian efforts must be further enhanced, in order to sustain current humanitarian programming, and prepare to provide for further displacement from the ongoing crisis.”