The United Nations has sounded alarm bells over "catastrophic" drinking water shortages in Mosul where Daesh terrorists are fighting an army offensive to retake the Iraqi city.
Lise Grande, the UN’s top humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said on Wednesday that nearly half a million civilians are now without access to clean drinking water in the city.
“The impact on children, women and families will be catastrophic," she warned, adding that there was not only a water shortage, but also a shortage of food in the city, and electric power had been cut off.
It is still unclear what exactly caused water shortage in the city but Basma Basseem, an official with the Mosul municipality, suggested Daesh terrorists had intentionally blown up utilities.
He said efforts were underway to bring water tankers to neighborhoods that have been retaken.
Some residents said their only resort was to take water from the Tigris river which is passing through the city, while others said they have resorted to pumping water from wells.
Local officials and residents are calling on Baghdad and relief organizations to come to their aid to prevent a "humanitarian disaster" in the making.
"The government as well as aid organizations must step up and offer assistance to the people, especially those families forced to drink water from the wells that are not fit for drinking," Abdelkarim al-Obeidi, secretary general of the local civil society organization Mosul People Gathering said.
A joint force made up of Iraqi army troops, volunteer fighters and Kurdish militias launched a coordinated operation on October 17 to retake Mosul.
On Wednesday, Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) entered the city from the northeast and split up into two groups heading south and north, securing 22 neighborhoods as they advanced.
Iraqi commanders say around 40 percent of the eastern half of Mosul has been retaken in the offensive.
Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units or Hashd al-Sha'abi earlier liberated two villages close to Mosul where some 2,300 families were being used by Daesh terrorists as human shields.
The Iraqi forces' progress has been hindered by the terrorists' use of a large civilian population as human shields. Despite the hindrance, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pledged to liberate the city by year-end.