The United Nations (UN) believes that an expected military operation in Mosul, Iraq, to recapture the ISIS-controlled territory could result in mass casualties and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

In the wake of the news, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is requesting $284m in funds to start preparing food, water, emergency shelter and medical assistance, and other immediately needed aid ahead of the Mosul military campaign.

The latest appeal for the funds is in addition to the $861m requested by the OCHA earlier this year.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Lise Grande said: “The impact of the Mosul military campaign on civilians will be devastating.

“99 front-line programmes, including 30 life-saving health programmes, have already shut and hundreds more will in the weeks and months ahead if we don’t receive support.”

Figures released by the OCHA show that nearly $1.8bn may be required to support the refugees.

Meanwhile, the UK Government has committed to providing £50m in aid to support Iraqi civilians in jeopardy.

"The impact of the Mosul military campaign on civilians will be devastating."

The financial assistance would allow people to buy basic essentials such as food and medicine, as well as provide clean water, vaccinations and shelter.

UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK is at the forefront of international efforts to tackle Daesh and its poisonous ideology.

“This new support will save lives and alleviate suffering while continuing to underline the UK’s commitment to taking its international obligations seriously and leading from the front when dealing with the big challenges of our time, including conflict and instability.”

To date, more than 3.3 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes.

Image: UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande (right), in conversation with refugees coming our of Iraq. Photo: courtesy of OCHA.