The battle for Mosul has taken a staggering toll on the people of Iraq’s second largest city. Most hospitals in the city have been severely damaged or destroyed and tens of thousands of people returning to the city confront a desperate lack of access to medical care. The psychological and emotional scars of war are immense and thousands of people are in need of mental health assistance. Trauma surgery is the beginning, rather than the end, of a long journey to recovery. Since March, MSF has treated children recently arrived from western Mosul with severe acute malnutrition. Most of them are under the age of six months.
Since 2014, over 3.3 million people have been displaced across the country, and while many have found their way to camps, others are living in schools, mosques and unfinished buildings. Throughout 2016, there was constant movement, with people either fleeing from battle zones or returning to newly retaken areas. Around 190,000 people were displaced from Mosul and the surrounding area in the last three months of the year, and as many as 1.5 million had returned to their place of origin by December. All these people, living in unstable areas, often near frontlines, face ongoing challenges, including insecurity and a lack of access to basic services and healthcare.