UN warns of thousands fleeing as Iraqi forces advance on Da’esh-held Tal Afar

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 21 (APP): The United Nations has warned that
thousands of civilians are expected to flee the town of Tal Afar and surrounding areas, as the Iraqi security forces began offensive to dislodge ISIL/Da’esh militants from their last stronghold in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh.
“Thousands of people are fleeing Tal Afar for safety,” Lise Grande,
the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement issued Sunday.
“Families are trekking for 10 to 20 hours in extreme heat to reach
mustering points. They are arriving exhausted and dehydrated.”
More than 30,000 people have already fled the district, Grande said,
noting that it is not known how many civilians are still in the areas where fighting is occurring, but preparation is under way for thousands more to flee in coming days and weeks.
“Food and water are running out, and people lack the basic necessities
to survive,” she said, stressing that nothing is more important than protecting civilians during the conflict while urging the parties to the conflict to avoid civilian casualties.
“The Government is leading the humanitarian operation, providing
transport and aid. Humanitarian partners are helping to cover gaps by providing life-saving assistance at mustering points and supporting families when they reach emergency sites and camps,” Grande said.
As of 20 August, less than 50 percent of the funding requested in the
2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq has been received, she said, underscoring the need for additional resources.