One year after the city of Mosul in Iraq was retaken from ISIS, thousands of people are still unable to return home as parts of the city remain severely damaged and lack running water or electricity, Oxfam said today.
Thousands more people don’t feel safe to return – including families whose houses have been completely destroyed in the fighting or are still to be cleared of unexploded bombs.
Across Iraq, more than two million people have yet to return to their homes.
The densely-populated Old City of Mosul was extensively damaged in the last days of fighting and was left littered with unexploded bombs. More than 3,000 houses, schools and shops were destroyed and water networks damaged.
Andres Gonzalez, Oxfam’s Country Director in Iraq, said the Old City remained one of the last areas in Mosul without running water.
“Parts of Mosul have been completely destroyed. Reconstruction has started but rebuilding Iraq’s second largest city will take time,” Mr Gonzalez said.
“We must not just rebuild what was there before – we have to do better than that. We need to prioritise the most vulnerable people who lost everything in the battle against ISIS, young people who missed out on years of education, and women and men whose freedom was severely curtailed.
“For there to be stability and peace in Iraq, everyone must be allowed to return home or set up a new home, rejoin society and have a stake in the future of the country.”
Oxfam is working in the Old City fixing the damaged pipelines, repairing pumping stations, and providing water pipes and machinery to bring running water to the 130,000 people who have already returned.
“It is vital that people have access to clean drinking water, especially as it is now summer in Iraq with temperatures already reaching over 45 degrees Celsius ,” Mr Gonzalez said.
Abdulaziz Aljarba, Chief Executive of Oxfam’s partner Al Tahreer Association for Development, said: “Alongside Iraqi authorities the international community should support projects that reduce poverty in Mosul and across Iraq. Communities must be consulted in the rebuilding process to ensure the poorest and most vulnerable families benefit.”
Oxfam has been working in Mosul since the first parts of the city were retaken from ISIS in 2016 – repairing damaged water pipelines, pumping stations and school bathrooms, bringing back clean drinking water to people returning home and ensuring children can go back to clean and safe schools.
Oxfam Australia welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of the $100 million Iraq Humanitarian and Stabilisation package announced in April 2017.
The UN is seeking $482m for reconstruction and recovery in 2018 alone.
For interviews with Oxfam staff in Iraq or Australia, or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Footage (VNR) and pictures of Oxfam’s work in the old city laying pipelines to bring water back to people living amongst the rubble are available:
Oxfam in Mosul has:
- Reached almost 100,000 people in the city of Mosul with vital aid
- Provided 1,250 pipes and an excavator to the Water Direcorate for the repair of pipelines in the old city, which will bring water to 35,000 people in 5 neighbourhoods – this work is ongoing
- Supported the rehabilitation of the first accessible water treatment plant in the city (Gazlani) that now reaches 49,000 people with clean water
- Supported Mosul General Hospital and 36 health clinics in the city with blankets, water tanks, beds, generators and water
- Renovated bathrooms in 5 schools across the city allowing children to return to class in a safe and clean environment
- Supported more than 2,500 people with emergency cash assistance as they return home
- Oxfam has reached more than 640,000 people through its response in Nineva