MOSUL, Iraq — Hundreds of thousands of people who remain in this northern Iraqi city are struggling to find food and safe drinking water as the protracted offensive against Islamic State militants batters their neighborhoods.
When the battle began seven weeks ago, aid agencies feared that an exodus from the city would overwhelm already crowded camps. Instead, most people heeded government advice to stay in their homes as security forces advanced.
Now many of those residents lack even basic services, with water supplies cut by the fighting, and U.N. and government aid distributions unable to reach all of those in need. Some residents are moving from neighborhood to neighborhood in search of food or to escape the bombardment.
Meanwhile, in areas still controlled by the Islamic State, a siege by security forces is slowly tightening, pushing up food prices and causing shortages while the militants prevent people from leaving.
Iraq is struggling to meet the needs of 3.2 million people displaced over the past three years during fighting against the Islamic State. To limit the displacement from Mosul, the government airdropped leaflets over the city telling civilians to stay put.
But few commanders expect the battle to finish anytime soon, and the misery unfolding in Mosul is expected to worsen as winter sets in.
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Images courtesy of AP.
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