Iraq News
Security

Iraq to restore key public services in Rawa

By Khalid al-Taie

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A boy walks past Iraqi army vehicles in Rawa on November 18th after the army recaptured the Euphrates valley town from the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria'. [Suleiman al-Anbari/ AFP]

Rawa's local administration has kicked off a campaign to restore key public services to the city amid a flurry of cleaning and rehabilitation activity, mayor Hussein Ali al-Akidi told Diyaruna on Wednesday (November 29th).

The western Anbar province city had suffered massive destruction before it was recaptured from the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) on November 17th.

"The level of destruction stood at 70%," al-Akidi said.

ISIS elements destroyed much of Rawa's infrastructure, he said, including 13 high voltage electricity generators, water and sewage plants, schools and hospitals.

"We have launched a campaign to restore basic services, especially to the more than 300 families who were not displaced from the city," he added.

Key service offices -- including the local administration, municipality, education directorate and the police department -- have been opened in alternative buildings, he said.

"We also have activated a single drinking water project for the city and have provided electricity to residents through the use of small generators," he said, adding that the electricity directorate continues to repair damaged distribution networks.

Volunteers have removed the rubble and debris from the streets using basic tools, as ISIS had destroyed most of the bulldozers, power shovels and cleaning vehicles, he said.

"The Anbar Health Directorate has sent a mobile hospital to the city with a staff of doctors and paramedics to provide treatment and health services to local residents," al-Akidi said.

Mine removal efforts

The situation in Rawa is stable and things are going well, he said.

But mines and explosives planted by ISIS throughout the city are the "greatest obstacle" to reconstruction efforts and to the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs), he said.

"The army is doing a great job of defusing thousands of bombs planted inside government buildings and homes," he said.

"So far, about 60% of explosives have been deactivated," he said, "but the task is arduous and some bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are well-hidden."

"We are waiting for the arrival of special teams that have been hired by the government to participate in the clearing efforts," he said, adding that they are expected to start work early next week.

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