Al-Hawijah in post-ISIS push to restore services
By Khalid al-Taie
The western Kirkuk city of al-Hawijah, which suffered extensive damage at the hands of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), has embarked on a large-scale rehabilitation campaign, a local official said Tuesday (October 22nd).
"We have started the largest rehabilitation campaign of its kind of public services in the centre of al-Hawijah and in its affiliated towns," al-Hawijah district council member Ammar Ali al-Hamdani told Diyaruna.
The city has not seen a campaign like this one -- which encompasses different service sectors across a large swath of the city -- in years, he said.
The campaign includes the repair of all city roads destroyed during the battles against ISIS, al-Hamdani said.
"Municipal workers have begun paving the main roads connecting the neighbourhoods of al-Hawijah, as well as streets in the sub-districts of al-Abbasi, al-Zab and al-Riyadh," he said.
Efforts to rebuild the city's infrastructure are ongoing, he added.
The old al-Hawijah water project has been rehabilitated at a capacity of 600 cubic metres per hour, as has the Tal Ali water facility, at a capacity of 240 cubic metres per hour, he said.
Work is under way to restore water facilities that have ceased operation, he added, as well as to repair power transmission lines.
"Engineering personnel were able, at the beginning of last month, to reactivate the 132-kilovolt, 39-kilometre al-Hawijah-Mullah Abdullah pipeline," he said.
Reopening hospitals and schools
Meanwhile, a project to rebuild a 200-bed hospital, which is being funded by the local government of Kirkuk, is about 70% complete, al-Hamdani said.
"Efforts continue at a rapid pace to open it soon and help alleviate the pressure on al-Hawijah Hospital, which is currently providing services to the population after restoration work was completed," he said.
In the education sector, the campaign has been focused on completing the rehabilitation of the remaining schools, he said, pointing out that most city schools and educational buildings have been rebuilt and rehabilitated.
This enabled "thousands of students" to return to school this month, he said.
"The challenge in this sector only pertains to the lack of teaching staff," he said, adding that the administration has discussed the issue with education officials, and has been instructed to fill the city’s need for teachers of various subjects.
As for the security situation in al-Hawijah, "it is very stable and we have not recorded any terrorist act for over two months", al-Hamdani said.
"Federal police units responsible for al-Hawijah’s security are spread throughout the city and its suburbs and conduct daily missions to track down ISIS remnants and hit them anywhere they may hide," he added.