DRC prepares for massive displacement from Mosul

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is a leading organization in the preparation of the expected massive displacement from Mosul follows the announced military offensive from the Iraqi and American forces in Mosul – the last strong-hold for Islamic State in Iraq. According to Head of Emergency for DRC, Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen, the situation is best described as a count-down to an expected chaos.


Civilians in Mosul have received flyers announcing an attack soon to come and the humanitarian organizations expect more than one million people to flee the city. DRC is one of the organizations coordinating and preparing the emergency assistance and is ready to take on a leading role in the emergency relief operation expected to begin next week. All actors are aware that something will happen in the near future but nobody can predict exactly when it will happen or how the situation will develop.

“We are in a tense and difficult situation – we know there will be an attack on Mosul, we know that it will force a large number of civilians to flee and we know that there will be serious and large scale humanitarian needs. However, we have to prepare for a crisis scenario without knowing exactly how it will evolve,” says Head of Emergency for DRC, Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen.

More than one million civilians remain in Mosul and DRC expects the majority to be forced out of the city as a result of the military offensive. Therefore the aim is to prepare for all potential scenarios.

“The main roads will be closed during the attack and we are trying to identify the most likely escape routes from Mosul so we are positioned to receive and assist the displaced. At the same time the relief operations will take place in an extremely volatile context and security will be a constant challenge. We have to be aware that we are facing an armed conflict and we must remain flexible in our planning – so, we are ready for any possible scenario. We will coordinate the operations from Dohuk, North of Mosul, Erbil, East of Mosul and from Tikrit, South of Mosul,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen.

There are already more than 3 million internally displaced in Iraq, creating massive challenges in terms of humanitarian resources. Currently just 135 million USD out of the 285 million USD the UN appealed for from the international community has been delivered.

“The only positive aspect of this situation is the fact that we it is predicable in the sense that we know the crisis is coming. We expect to deliver emergency relief to 200.000 people or one fifth of the population expected to flee Mosul. Our operations will focus on protection of children – child friendly spaces and distribution of basic emergency relief such as water, blankets and kitchen sets,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen.