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Iraq poised to begin west Mosul reconstruction

By Khalid al-Taie

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A Mosul municipality worker removes rubble from the streets of western Mosul's Old City. [Photo from the Mosul Municipality Directorate Facebook page]

The Iraqi government is working to jumpstart reconstruction efforts in western Mosul’s Old City, with a government delegation dispatched there on Tuesday (November 5th) to examine the destruction caused during the battles with the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

The delegation included officials from various sectors such as municipalities, water and urban planning, said Ninawa provincial council services committee member Hosam Eddin al-Abbar.

They came "to inspect the extent of destruction in the Old City's neighbourhoods, in order to prepare reviews assessing the scale of the damage and develop suitable plans and visions for reconstruction", he told Diyaruna.

The area has been obliterated in the battles, he said, noting that homes, infrastructure and historical monuments were all destroyed.

Preliminary estimates from the Ninawa local government put the cost of reconstruction as high as one trillion Iraqi dinars ($800 million), he said.

"It is a huge sum, and the province cannot come up with even one tenth of that amount," he added.

Rehabilitation operations in Mosul and other cities in the province fall short of the required level due to lack of funding and support, he said.

"Public services are in bad shape and many residents who lost their homes and property are today in urgent need of help and compensation," al-Abbar said.

The Iraqi parliament on January 26th voted in favour of declaring areas in Ninawa province as disaster zones due to the crimes that ISIS committed during its control of the province.

"Such a decision will accelerate the government's steps in reconstructing those areas and allocating emergency funds for them," a parliament statement said.

On September 12th, parliament declared western Mosul's Old City a disaster zone, thereby giving the area priority in benefiting from government reconstruction programmes.

Al-Abbar expressed his hope that the governmental delegation's visit to the Old City will be a starting point for reconstruction and for ending the suffering of residents currently living in displacement camps under very difficult conditions.

The Old City witnessed one of the fiercest battles with ISIS before the Iraqi forces defeated them and announced the full liberation of the city of Mosul on July 10th.

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