Mosul municipality, volunteers clear the city
By Khalid al-Taie
The Mosul municipality has been working with teams of local volunteers to clear away all traces of the battle against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
"We are continuing our work and are planning to create a new division within the municipality to be named the 'Voluntary Support Division' to develop plans for projects with these teams and to foster joint action," said Mosul municipality director Abdul Sattar al-Habbou.
"We removed the rubble of a large number of destroyed buildings, totaling 3.5 million cubic metres to date, from Mosul’s districts, including the Old City," he said, noting that 11,500 homes in Mosul had been destroyed.
The remains of 10,000 burnt-out vehicles also have been cleared away.
"Rubble and remnants of war removal operations are arduous and dangerous, as unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs), explosive belts and remnants of war are buried or hidden under the rubble," al-Habbou said.
Most of Mosul's roads have been repaired and are back in service, he added.
"We opened roads totaling 2,695 kilometres in length, with a completion rate of 90% in the eastern side of Mosul and 50% in the western side," he said.
Some streets in the Old City will remain out of service until damaged infrastructure such as water pipes can be repaired, he said.
Drinking water now reaches 90% of Mosul, al-Habbou, said, with water delivered to the 1,400 families who have returned to the Old City in tanker trucks.
The municipality and local volunteer teams also have taken part in the government's effort to remove the corpses of ISIS fighters, he added.
One of the volunteer teams that has worked alongside the municipality’s crews is Muthabirun lel-Kheir (Working Diligently for the Good), led by civil activist Bandar al-Akidi.
The team has worked with the municipality to clear rubble from the city's narrow alleyways, and is now getting ready to carry out other projects, al-Akidi said.
The rubble-clearing project paved the way for "the return of hundreds of families to their areas of residence in old Mosul", he said.
Other team efforts have included providing relief aid to affected families, offering them food baskets and in-kind assistance during Ramadan.
"We started a project to repair residents' homes destroyed in the war," he said. "We aspire to build at least 100 homes with funds donated to us."
"We are currently working on repairing two homes with modest financial resources," he said. "We hope that our projects and service campaigns will serve as motivation for wider and more inclusive co-operation to restore our city."
Ninawa provincial council member Khalaf al-Hadidi praised the level of co-operation between local authorities and civil society initiatives, calling on volunteer teams to co-ordinate on a continuous basis with the local government.
"The service-related activities carried out by the youth of Mosul to lift their city are necessary and represent a popular movement that reflects a desire to share in the responsibility of the rebuilding efforts," he told Diyaruna.