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Essential Lens: Analyzing Photographs Across the Curriculum

#10037 Internally displaced Iraqis flee fighting in Mosul


Date: 2016
Location: Mosul, Iraq
Photographer: Ivor Prickett
Source: UNHCR/Ivor Prickett


Families flee their homes in Mosul, heading for an army outpost in the Samah neighbourhood, where they will be taken away from the heavy fighting engulfing the city.

Background: After two years trapped inside Iraq’s second largest city, thousands of Iraqis are relieved to be free of tyrannical militant rule. But escaping to freedom can also be dangerous: Many are caught on the front lines of the battle to retake the city from ISIS, and many are in need of urgent care.

In preparation for the military operation in October 2016, UNHCR made plans to deal with the mass-displacement that might occur. Eleven new camps have been built by UN agencies and the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement, designed to accommodate 120,000 people. Emergency plans are also in place to provide tents and supplies to those who cannot access the camps. Around 3.3 million Iraqis, ten percent of the population, have fled their homes since March 2014.


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