Middle East

UN refugee agency hands out aid to those uprooted from Mosul

  • Iraqi men stand in line while waiting for aid to be distributed, in the Samah district of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    Iraqi men stand in line while waiting for aid to be distributed, in the Samah district of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Iraqi women stand while waiting for aid to be distributed, in the Samah district of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

    Iraqi women stand while waiting for aid to be distributed, in the Samah district of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N. refugee agency has distributed aid to dozens of Iraqi families uprooted from their homes in and around the city of Mosul.

UNHCR aid workers were handing out kerosene heaters, jerry cans, big sheets and hygiene kits to about 30 families on Monday, with people lining up to get the aid.

The families are among the nearly 5,500 people living in tents in a camp east of the northern Iraqi city where the battle to retake the city from the Islamic State group is underway.

So far, nearly 70,000 civilians have fled the massive, government-run military operation to retake Mosul. The operation started on October 17.

Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, is the last major IS urban bastion in the country. Iraqi troops have advanced cautiously to avoid civilian casualties.