Aid groups confront land mines, ethnic tensions in Mosul conflict

Email a Friend

Bruno Geddo, UNHCR’s representative in Iraq, describes efforts to help Mosul’s people.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis are fleeing the brutal battle to retake Mosul from Islamic State fighters. And aid agencies are finding they need to navigate ethnic tensions, along with booby trapped terrain, in their efforts to help.

In case there’s a sudden outflow of people, aid organizations are building more camps closer to the northern city, the U.N. refugee agency’s Iraq representative Bruno Geddo told the PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan.

An Iraqi girl displaced by the fighting in Mosul teaches her brother in a camp on Dec. 9. Photo by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

An Iraqi girl displaced by the fighting in Mosul teaches her brother in a camp on Dec. 9. Photo by Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

They not only have to carefully check for land mines in these new locations, but also make sure they are cognizant of the area’s ethnic makeup, he said.

“It may be in an area which is ethnically unacceptable for Sunni displaced people to be taken in,” said Geddo. “We do not want to be unwittingly contributing to creating ethnic tensions.”

If the Mosul people “are received and treated with respect and escorted to safety by friendly forces, that is the best way for the humanitarians to give them shelter, food, water, (and) in time the best way to counter the toxic narrative” of the Islamic State, he said.

The post Aid groups confront land mines, ethnic tensions in Mosul conflict appeared first on PBS NewsHour.