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One year after Mosul 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 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 the country 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. Today, it remains one of the last areas in the city without running water.
Andres Gonzalez, Oxfam’s Country Director in Iraq, said: “Parts of Mosul have been completely destroyed. Reconstruction has started but rebuilding Iraq’s second largest city will take time. 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.
Gonzalez said: “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.”
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.