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Statement attributable to Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA Director for the Arab Region, on the Humanitarian Situation in Iraq

Cairo, 11 April 2017 –I am following closely with deep concern the alarming humanitarian situation of an estimated 300,000-350,000 civilians currently trapped in the ongoing military operations to retake the West side of the city of Mosul in Iraq. I am particularly concerned for the protection and health of pregnant women and adolescent girls, whose access to lifesaving basic sexual and reproductive health services usually falls behind other urgent needs, like food and shelter.

Among the 345,000 individuals who are currently displaced since the beginning of the military operations in October 2016, an estimated 86,000 are women and girls of reproductive age, including about 14,000 who are pregnant or about to give birth. Another 12,000 -14,000 pregnant women are expected to be in the Western part of Mosul city which is yet to be re-taken.

UNFPA is leading the provision of the reproductive health services inside West Mosul, including in collaborating with WHO on the opening of a maternity wing in the field hospital in Athba area. The establishment of a second field hospital in Hammam Al Aliel with a maternity wing, also in close collaboration with WHO, is already near completion.

While UNFPA has 109 Women Safe Spaces including two centres providing specialized services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, the needs are immense in view of the reports by the population fleeing Western Mosul.

UNFPA is committed to responding to the needs of women and girls by providing services that protect and assist them.