More than 200,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Iraqi forces’ battle to retake the city of Mosul from ISIL that began in October, according to a Switzerland-based nongovernmental organisation.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates, in a report released on Sunday, said 45,000 people have fled west Mosul since the push to seize it from ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, began in February.
More than 17,000 people arrived from west Mosul on February 28 alone, while over 13,000 came on March 3, according to the IOM.
On Saturday, a senior Iraqi government official publicly criticised UN-led efforts to aid those displaced by the west Mosul fighting, while the UN said that such assistance is the “top priority”.
“Unfortunately, there is a clear shortfall in the work of these [UN] organisations,” Jassem Mohammed al-Jaff, the minister of displacement and migration, said in a statement.
Al Jazeera’s Dekker, reporting from eastern Mosul on Sunday, said that the stream of people is continuing.
“Because the camps are operating at full capacity, the refugees are now being brought to the Kurdish regions here in northern Iraq,” she said.
“There are buses behind us that have just arrived with more arrivals. We are talking about thousands and thousands of people.”
Additionally, medical workers warned that women and children have been exposed to toxic gas near the city.
If confirmed, the use of chemical weapons and toxic agents in the fighting will amount to war crimes, the UN has said.