By Joe Cropp, IFRC, in Erbil, Iraq

After one month of military operations to retake Mosul, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society is working as quickly as they can to assist families in areas around the city.

Basic infrastructure in these areas is either severely damaged or destroyed, leaving tens-of-thousands of families without safe drinking water, power and basic health care. Families have been struggling to find food, and have often been forced to drink unsafe water from wells.

Iraqi Red Crescent Society President Dr Yaseen Al-Mamoori said local Red Crescent volunteers were doing everything possible to support affected communities. “With the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and coordinating with other actors on the ground, we are working to provide emergency relief, food, health and psychosocial support,” he said.

Operating under the principles of neutrality and independence, local volunteers have also been working in forward reception centres, providing first point of contact assistance to people fleeing the fighting for the safety of relief camps.

Over the past month, Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been working in the relief camps around Mosul. More than 42,000 hot meals have been distributed from Red Crescent field kitchens, along with more than 8,000 food parcels. Blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans and clothes are distributed daily in the camps to people arriving from Mosul and surrounding towns.

Red Crescent health teams are providing first aid and basic health services in the camps; trained psychosocial volunteers are providing much needed emotional support.

Nearly 59,000 have been displaced by the fighting; about 26,000 of them children. 40,000 people have found shelter in the camps prepared and run by the government, Red Cross and Red Crescent, the United Nations and other partner organizations. Over 13,000 displaced people have been taken in by generous host communities or live in public facilities.