They are free from ISIL’s clutches now but men, women and children in eastern Mosul are desperate for food.
Hence chaotic scenes as aid organisations struggle to distribute aid in parts of the Iraqi city liberated by Iraqi government forces from the jihadists’ iron grip.
“They need aid,” said Red Crescent worker Ali Jawad Murad.
“The area was not liberated before. Now it is and the families who were displaced are returning. It is difficult to bring in food so we are trying to get aid from our branch in Irbil.”
ISIL imposed a radical version of Islam in Mosul after establishing the country’s second biggest city as its de facto capital: banning cigarettes, televisions and radios, and forcing men to grow beards and women to cover from head to toe.
Having chased the militants out of eastern Mosul, Iraqi forces are now poised to attack them in the west of the city.
The hardship of those trying to restart their lives is huge, with no running water or electricity.
US-led airstrikes have demolished scores of buildings and left massive craters that destroyed roads.
About 3 million people have been displaced from their homes in Iraq since 2014, when ISIL took over large areas of the country and of neighbouring Syria.