A full siege is developing in Mosul as poor families struggle to feed themselves after prices rose sharply following the US-backed offensive on the Islamic State-held city in northern Iraq, humanitarian workers say.
"Key informants are telling us that poor families are struggling to put sufficient food on their tables," UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, told Reuters. "This is very worrying."
Water supplies to about 650,000 residents in Mosul have also been cut off after a pipeline was hit during fighting between the army and Islamic State militants, a local official said on Tuesday.
"The maintenance team cannot reach the pipeline because it lies in an area being fought over," said Hussam al-Abar, a member of Mosul's Nineveh provincial council, in one of the 15 districts and suburbs of the city where running water ceased.
The news is a blow to authorities hoping that residents will stay in Mosul while US-backed troops try to crush Islamic State in northern Iraq's largest city, which the militants seized in 2014.
Iraqi government and Kurdish forces surround the city from the north, east and south, while Popular Mobilisation forces - a coalition of Iranian-backed Shi'ite groups - are trying to close in from the west.
Retail prices rose sharply last week, after Popular Mobilisation fighters cut the supply route to Mosul from the Syrian half of the self-styled caliphate, declared by Islamic State two years ago over Sunni-populated parts of Iraq and Syria.
Iraqi forces moving from the east have captured about a quarter of Mosul, trying to advance to the Tigris river that runs through its centre, in the biggest battle in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Islamic State arrested on Sunday about 30 shop owners accused of raising food prices in the city, to try to suppress discontent, witnesses said on Monday.