Mosul post-ISIS: Now the real work begins, says Oxfam

An Iraqi girl flees through a destroyed street as Iraqi Special Forces continue their advance against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Sunday, July 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

With the conclusion of the main military offensive in Mosul, humanitarian agencies are now turning their focus to making it possible for people to return home.

“The real work starts now for humanitarians,” Andres Gonzalez, Oxfam International director for Iraq, told Rudaw English on Friday.

Over one million people were displaced from Mosul, according to figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday.

Safety and security are the main challenges facing humanitarian agencies. In order to rebuild, the city must be safe to work in.

“The government of Iraq is responsible. The security forces are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of these areas. There can be uncertainty and asymmetrical attacks, but we are asking the government again to make sure there are enough forces widely deployed around the areas for the people to return,” Gonzalez explained.

The Ministry of Interior is looking to recruit as many as 18,000 new police officers, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, ministry spokesperson, told Pentagon reporters on Thursday.

The Nineveh police also have 16 emergency units with duties to secure territory and provide law and order, Maan detailed.

Safety and security also includes clearing mines and explosives. “These areas have a large amount of contamination,” Gonzalez said.

The infrastructure, particularly in western Mosul, has been severely damaged. According to UN Habitat, a total of 9,926 sites have been heavily damaged or destroyed. More than half of those are in the Old City.

Housing make of 86 percent of the sites destroyed. UN Habitat estimates that one third of homes in Old Mosul are severely damaged or destroyed.

UN Habitat’s information is based on satellite imagery so the agency notes the amount of damage is likely higher.

Gonzalez estimates that around 30,000 people have returned to west Mosul so far. He would like to see similar resources put into rebuilding as were put into the war.

On Thursday, Brett McGurk, US envoy to the global anti-ISIS coalition, revealed a $119 million contribution towards stabilization in Iraq, which, on top of a $150 million pledged a week ago, brings total US funds in support of stabilizing post-ISIS Iraq to $384.3 million.

He said he hopes that other countries would also make contributions.

The United Nations has appealed for $1.3 billion for post-ISIS humanitarian and stabilization requirements.

Source: Rudaw

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