Crisis looms as water shortage hits Mosul

2016-11-29 22:24
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Mosul - Hundreds of thousands of people were without water in eastern Mosul on Tuesday, residents and officials said, raising fears of a major health crisis in the war-torn Iraqi city.

It was not immediately clear what caused the disruption, but residents on the eastern side of Mosul said they had not had any water supplies for days and were pumping water from wells.

"There is a major shortage of water in many districts on the eastern side," said Basma Basseem, from Mosul municipality.

She said up to 600 000 people living on that side of the Tigris, which splits the city in two, could be affected.

Some residents said the sudden water shortage was caused by air strikes from the US-led coalition that damaged the main carrier bringing water from the western side of the city.

Basseem suggested that the Islamic State group that Iraqi forces are battling in eastern Mosul may have intentionally stopped the flow.

"There are efforts to bring water tankers to neighbourhoods that have been retaken," Basseem said.

Iraqi commanders said around 40% of the eastern half of Mosul has been retaken from the jihadists since a huge offensive began on October 17.

The forces have told civilians to stay at home in order to avoid massive displacement from the city, which was believed to have a population of a million-plus before the operation started.

Barely more than a third of the 200 000 displaced that the UN had expected in the first few weeks of the offensive have fled their homes so far.

The lack of clean drinking water could now make it difficult for residents to remain, however.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq

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