More relief aid needed in Mosul after blast

Essential relief items are needed to continue relief operations, and maintain an emergency stock, for affected families in the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said on 28 January.

At least 60 people, mostly women and children, were killed and 280 wounded as a result of a massive blast followed by a suicide attack against a senior police official on 23 January in Mosul, the IRCS said.

Iraqi officials from the defence and interior ministries put the toll at 36 dead and 170 wounded in the explosion, which occurred when a cache of munitions, stored by insurgents in a house in west Mosul's Zanjili suburb, blew up.

In a report on its website, the IRCS said the most needed relief items were food, kitchen sets, mattresses, blankets, medical supplies, milk for infants, bottled water, suits and vests for disaster management volunteers, and canned food.

"The attack led to the destruction of at least 100 houses," the IRCS said, adding that there were probably further dead bodies beneath the rubble.

The IRCS said the attack would increase the suffering of Iraqi families already living in a very difficult situation resulting from armed conflicts and frequent disasters.

Preparedness

An official at the IRCS's Disaster Management Department in Baghdad said the organisation has three strategic warehouses in central, southern and northern Iraq in order to reach nearby affected areas.

"We are prepared for all kinds of crisis and our teams are working very hard to meet the needs of the affected people nationwide," said the official who asked not to be named for security reasons.

"We are facing challenges that all Iraqi people face, but things could happen here and there to our teams as they do their work, like attacks and explosions, but in general we feel like we are welcomed and accepted in all areas," the IRCS official said.

Relief activities have been coordinated with the relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies. Tents have been erected for families who lost their houses, and food and medicines distributed.

There was coordination with the Turkish embassy to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid from the Turkish Red Crescent to Iraq in the first 24 hours after the incident, it said.

The Turkish donation, IRCS said, included 300 food baskets and medical items and the transfer of seven casualties to hospital in Turkey.

On 27 January Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed al-Qaeda for the explosion and ordered troop reinforcements and tanks to be sent to Mosul for an assault on Al-Qaeda in its urban stronghold.

sm/at/cb