UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than 56,400 people have now been displaced as the military operations to retake Iraq's Mosul continue, Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, told reporters here Tuesday.
More than 2,000 displaced people moved towards camps east of Mosul over the past two days, Haq said at a daily news briefing here.
Three-quarters of all the displaced people are in camps, while others are with host families or in "critical" shelter arrangements, such as unfinished or abandoned buildings, and other informal settlements, he said.
"The United Nations and NGO (non-governmental organizations) partners continue to assist displaced families, host communities and vulnerable residents in newly retaken areas," Haq said.
Since Oct. 17, when the military operation began, nearly 114,000 people have been reached by the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners with a one-month food ration. In addition, the Government has provided 10-day food rations to approximately 108,000 people.
Meanwhile, Haq said, "a new initiative is being launched today, aiming to help families who have been newly displaced as a result of the Mosul offensive get easier access to accurate and timely information."
An initiative starting in Hasansham camp for displaced Iraqis, newly-built by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is aiming to give families a communications lifeline, he said.
"One Iraqi radio station, Radio Nawa, will be distributing two thousand small transistor radios, so that people can listen in to a non-partisan information service, take part in radio phone-ins, raise questions or comments, and engage on-air with local and central government officials and the Iraqi security forces," he said.
On Oct. 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the country's second largest city, in a bid to liberate the northern Iraqi city, the last major Islamic State (IS) stronghold in Iraq.
So far, the Iraqi security forces have inched to the eastern fringes of Mosul, and made progress on other routes around the city preparing for the major battle to storm the city and drive out the IS militants.
Mosul, some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, has been under IS control since June 2014, when Iraqi government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.