Caritas Czech Republic steps up humanitarian aid to the people of Mosul
The Catholic charity Caritas Czech Republic has actively cooperated with other humanitarian organizations to bring relief to the war-torn city of Mosul. Now it is opening its first branch in the Iraqi city in order to be able to offer broader support to its newly liberated neighborhoods. I spoke to Benjamin Mlýnek of Caritas about the organization’s priorities there in the coming weeks and months.
What is the present situation of the people you are helping?
“Most of the families had to flee when the fighting started and they left their homes with one suitcase or barely anything and there were a lot of checkpoints and a lot of circumstances where they lost their belongings. Now they are returning to their homes and if they are lucky enough to find the building standing their home has usually been looted and so there is nothing to eat, usually water supplies have been cut off and there is no access to the market. These people have little or no money and cannot afford to purchase the very expensive food that one can get on the market there nowadays. That is why food has to be delivered from outside.”
To what extent are these newly-liberated parts of the city functioning now?
“In Eastern Mosul you could say that the city is functioning somehow –there are shops open, the streets are full of cars, there are traffic jams, at first glance it looks like a normal city. However there are still huge infrastructure challenges, often there are power cuts lasting the whole day, not many houses are connected, the whole infrastructure has to be rebuilt.”
What about health care? Do people have access to health care?
So you have long-term as well as short-term plans in Mosul?
“Now we are primarily thinking about the first six months during which the newly liberated territories should start “early recovery”. During that period we want to primarily focus on the reestablishment of the local market because it is essential for the population in urban areas to get access to food. That is our primary objective in the “early recovery” phase. Later on there will be need to help with establishing livelihoods because the people there will need to get the opportunity to generate an income. So for that we aim to introduce projects which will support the establishment of small businesses or support already existing businesses in expanding their capacity and creating new jobs.”