BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Around 400,000 children are still displaced from the fighting for Mosul, one year after the start of a military offensive to recapture the Iraqi city from the Islamic State, Save the Children said on Monday.
Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate effectively collapsed in July, when U.S.-backed Iraqi forces re-took Mosul, the group’s de facto capital in Iraq, after a grueling nine-month battle.
“Just because the fighting in Mosul has stopped doesn’t mean the humanitarian needs aren’t great. If anything, children need our help now more than ever - those that are still displaced and those that are returning to see what’s left of their homes,” said the London-based charity’s Iraq country director, Ana Locsin.
“Large parts of Mosul have been reduced to rubble; schools, homes, hospitals, roads, playgrounds and parks. I’ve spoken to dozens of children haunted by their experiences, left with psychological scars that’ll take years to heal,” Locsin said in a statement.
With the fall of Mosul and other small towns in the country’s north and west, the only area still under control of Islamic State in Iraq is a stretch alongside the western border with Syria, where the militant group is also in retreat.
Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Richard Balmforth