Fighting cuts off clean water for half of Mosul's children: UNICEF

GENEVA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Close to half of Mosul's children and their families no longer have access to clean water as clashes between Islamic State (IS) and Iraqi Security Forces trying to recapture the Iraqi city intensify, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned Wednesday.

"Children and their families in Mosul are facing a horrific situation," UNICEF representative in Iraq, Peter Hawkins, said in a statement.

"Not only are they in danger of getting killed or injured in the cross fire, now potentially more than half a million people do not have safe water to drink," he added.

According to UNICEF, a major pipeline serving eastern districts of the northern city was destroyed amid ongoing military operations.

The conduit in question, one of three pumping water to eastern parts of the war-torn city, is impossible to repair quickly given that it is located in parts of Mosul still under IS control.

UNICEF said that Iraqi authorities are ferrying water to civilians with trucks, though this temporary measure is not enough to meet the needs of residents.

According to the UN body, civilians will have no choice but to resort to unsafe water resources if the pipeline is not repaired in the coming days.

This would put children in particular at risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as severe diarrhoea and the threat of malnutrition.

"UNICEF urges all parties to the conflict to allow these critical deliveries and repairs. Civilian infrastructure must never be attacked," Hawkins reminded.

Iraqi troops launched a military offensive on Oct. 17 to take back the city which fell into IS hands in June 2014 after government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

International aircraft as well as Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition artillery units are supporting ground operations there.

According to reports, more than 5,000 IS militants were initially holed up in Mosul, though they are losing ground amid ongoing military operations.

[ Editor: 刘家铭 ]


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