Syrian refugee children. File Photo.
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Hunger caused by foodstuff shortage claimed the lives of 25 children in Islamic-State held western Mosul in January, with 140.000 others threatened, according to an Iraqi human rights monitor.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said baby milk, supplementary nutrition and potable water have become scarce in western Mosul, making an increase in deaths caused by starvation more likely.
The organization said data it had obtained reveal that 25 children, aged between one month and three years, died due to hunger in January, and there had been dozens of deaths since Iraqi government forces launched a major offensive mid October to drive Islamic State extremists out of the city.
IS militants, over the past three months, intentionally barred merchants from importing any foodstuff except for group members and their families, according to the observatory.
There is not enough food for women to be able to breastfeed infants, according to IOHR.
Pressed by potable water shortage, residents had to dig wells for underground water, only to sustain several cases of poisoning.
Iraqi government forces recaptured eastern Mosul late January after three months of battles from IS fighters, and have yet to declare a timing for the invasion of the western region. The conflict in Mosul has so far displaced 191.000 civilians, according to government data.
On Tuesday, the office of the United Nations spokesperson said that in western Mosul, “remote assessment indicates that some parts of the city receive safe drinking water for several hours every few days through the public network, but residents in southern and western areas of west Mosul city have no access to the public network, and are potentially using unsafe drinking water. “
The office said a number of security incidents in newly accessible areas of eastern Mosul city have led to a temporary reduction of humanitarian activities. It said some aid workers were wounded by bombing from Islamic State drones and a suicide attack.