Mosul


Video: Unexploded Bombs continue to haunt Mosul

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Eight months after US-backed forces drove ISIL from Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul, unexploded bombs, mortars and other explosives still litter the streets.

The UN says most of them are buried under an estimated 11 tonnes of destroyed buildings.

It warns removing them all could take “many years”.

Al Jazeera‘s Imtiaz Tyab reports:

 

91 Iraqi Civilians Killed in February

A total of 91 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 208 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in February 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

The figures include ordinary civilians and others who can be considered civilian at the time of death or injury – police in non-combat function, civil defence, Personal Security Details, facilities protection police, and fire department personnel.

Of the overall figures for February, the number of civilians killed (not including police) was 86, while the number of injured (not including police) was 202.

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 195 civilian casualties (49 killed, 146 injured). Anbar Governorate followed, with 14 killed and 37 injured, and Diyala had 12 killed and 11 injured.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations)

New Mosul Housing Units from UNHCR, Japan

700 families in West Mosul receive housing units from UNHCR with funds from the people of Japan

Some 700 families in Mosul whose homes were destroyed in the recent conflict now have a new place to live. Temporary housing units were set up in 26 neighbourhoods in the west of the city, which saw extensive destruction in the battle to retake the city from extremist control.

During the battle for Mosul, almost 1 million Iraqis fled the fighting, seeking safety in nearby camps and host communities. After the fighting ended people began to return to the city, but for many citizens of Mosul, their homes were too badly damaged for them to return.

“So many displaced Iraqis want to go home and restart their lives,” said Bruno Geddo, UNHCR Representative in Iraq. “Rebuilding Mosul is an immense task that will take years. The housing units will provide shelter for up to three years to Iraqis returning to their communities. This will give them breathing space to make longer term plans.”

The people of Japan generously donated US$ 4.5 million to camp management services, cash assistance and temporary housing programmes to support displaced people and returnees in Mosul cope with the harsh winter conditions. Approximately 18,000 people benefited from the cash assistance, while 4,200 people are housed in the new housing units. The units were formally handed over to their new occupants by Mr Geddo at a ceremony in Mosul on 21 February.

H.E. Mr. Fumio Iwai, Ambassador of Japan to Iraq said, “We remain concerned about the unstable humanitarian situation in West Mosul even after its liberation from the battle, where many of the houses were completely destroyed or heavily damaged.” He added, “Japan strongly hopes the provision of housing units and cash assistance through this emergency grant assistance help the displaced and returnees secure their shelters and the basic needs as a response to the transitional phase for further stabilization and reconstruction of the city.”

“Thanks to the generosity of the Japanese people, 700 families now have a housing solution that keeps out the winter cold,” said Mr Geddo. “Although the emergency is now over, we have a responsibility to continue to support the people of Iraq. Sustainable return is a cornerstone of the transition towards a better future. We must not let them down at this critical juncture.”

(Source: UN)

UXO Clearance leads way to Normal Future

UNMAS Iraq ‘Clearance Mission’ Seen as ‘Tipping Point’ Between Past Conflict and a Normal Future

Lives and livelihoods in Iraq’s liberated areas are being restored at long last.

In Fallujah, as many as 1,800 vehicles and 100 pedestrians per hour can cross the re-opened ‘new bridge’ linking Baghdad with Al-Anbar Province. The fibre optic cable connecting more than 3,000 customers with Baghdad has been restored. The Jadidah fuel station, which had been closed for three years, now pumps an average of more than 31,000 litres for 300 vehicles per day.

In Mosul, the Al Qaysoor Water Treatment Plant has resumed providing clean and safe water to more than 300,000 customers across 34 service areas. The High Court can access deeds to validate land claims of residents returning to Ninewa Province. Valuable medical equipment, removed for safekeeping, awaits rehabilitation of a hospital in Mosul.

None of this progress would have been possible without infrastructure first being cleared of the explosive threats posed by debris of past conflicts and devices left by retreating ISIL forces, thus allowing the Government of Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the International Community to carry out the necessary rehabilitation work.

“We had almost lost all hope,” said Mr. Ali, manager of the Jadidah fuel station, speaking for its 20 employees. “We expected that the station would be blown up,” and it might well have been. United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)-directed teams safely removed 34 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) weighing a total of 435 kg from the station premises. “You (UNMAS) gave us our jobs back,” he said.

“We eliminate threats along roads, under bridges, from power and water plants, from schools, from critical infrastructure, so that those displaced by conflict can return to their homes, begin again to work, to educate their children, to contribute to society, to live a normal life,” said Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager, prior to the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq.

Lodhammar says conference outcomes will help UNMAS to set priorities working in collaboration with the Government and other agencies supporting Iraq’s reconstruction. All infrastructure is important, but the sequencing of clearance missions itself is complex and the UNMAS top priority, Lodhammar says. “What comes first on our list in turn affects all other rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts ‘downstream’,” he says. “So, we always begin with a joint-assessment to establish our priorities.”

He cites the current UNMAS work to clear Fallujah’s power grid serving two areas outside of the city. As of December 2017, UNMAS-directed teams had searched nearly 34 km² along power lines and cleared 580 explosive devices. When the UNMAS work finishes, repair crews can begin restoring power to as many as 60,000 people and seven schools.

UNMAS-directed partners working at the community level, village level, even the ‘well level’ make a difference on a daily basis, Lodhammar says.

In Al Bokald, villagers spoke of the ground as their enemy. “We could not walk for fear that something would explode in our faces,” said one. Today, with explosive devices cleared, 20 families again have access to a well and water for their own needs and to grow their crops.

The story confirms for Lodhammar the need, primacy and urgency of the clearance mission as shared by all agencies engaged in Iraq’s reconstruction. “We have to do our job, safely, quickly and well so others can do theirs.”

In 2018, the mine action sector requires 216 million USD to respond to the rehabilitation efforts of retaken areas and critical needs in access to basic and municipal services, education and health of returning civilians. In the Reconstruction and Development Framework (RDF) presented at the Kuwait Conference, the Government of Iraq will prioritize the clearance of explosive hazards to enable the reconstruction of Iraq and support of accountable governance, reconciliation and peace building, social and human development and economic development.

(Source: UNAMI)

Legal Assistance for Vulnerable Households in Mosul

UN-Habitat provided legal assistance to 1,015 vulnerable households in Mosul to address their housing, land and property rights claims

UN-Habitat in collaboration with its implementing partner, the local NGO Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid, concluded the activities funded by the 2017 Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund to address housing, land and property rights (HLP) of vulnerable people in Mosul.

Under this project, UN-Habitat assessed ten neighbourhoods in East Mosul where many displaced persons from the west of the city have settled. The surveys covered 3,083 houses, reaching a total of 19,261 individuals, and aimed to identify HLP incidents and needs of vulnerable households in East Mosul.

Accordingly, 61% of the surveyed households reported that their house was partially or fully destroyed, while more than 33% had no legal occupancy/ownership documents linked to their current residence.

As such, UN-Habitat undertook an information dissemination and awareness raising campaign related to households’ HLP rights and available redress mechanisms through the distribution of leaflets, as well as awareness raising sessions with beneficiaries seeking information on HLP.

Among those, seven sessions were conducted exclusively for females to provide them with a safe and comfortable space to raise their issues and concerns. Mahdia Hamed Ismail, highlighted how she benefited from the help:

“My house was flattened in East Mosul by the war. We were sitting on the floor and we still are as we neither filed nor received any compensation. UN-Habitat’s legal partners visited my house, took my information, helped me fill in the compensation application, and filed the claim in court on my behalf. I would like to thank them for keeping us in mind, and for making the effort to support us.”

As a result of the strong commitment and work ethic of the community representatives (Mukhtars), as well as other local authorities, including the Mosul court, the project was able to provide legal assistance on lease and ownership issues to 1,015 vulnerable families, 29% of which were female-headed households.

The majority of the households who have been impacted by the previous hostilities are in need of support with filing their claims at court. HLP issues are a major challenge for returnees and households in areas previously controlled by ISIL, and can only be solved by legal representation in courts, and/or community-based land mitigation mechanisms.

The authorities in Mosul face many challenges in responding to the high number of claims related to HLP violations, which are a major driving force of conflict and social tension. The cost of not promptly addressing these issues will be too much to bear in the future.

In this regard, the housing registration directorate will be re-established and functioning in Hay Al-Zuhur on 17 February 2018, which marks a significant step in facilitating the production/restoration of occupancy, rental, or ownership documents. UN-Habitat is committed to support the efforts of the authorities and increase its HLP interventions in Mosul, and other areas in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

UNICEF needs $17m to Rebuild Health Facilities for Children

Warning about the “alarming” state of Iraq’s healthcare system, especially in war-ravaged areas in and around Mosul, the United Nations children’s agency has stepped up its support to help the Government provide critical medical services so that children and families affected by violence and displacement can resume their lives.

With less than 10 per cent of health facilities in Iraq’s Ninewah governorate functioning at full capacity, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that as many as 750,000 children in the governorate are struggling to access basic health services although violence has subsided. Those facilities that are operational are stretched to the breaking point.

“The state of Iraq’s healthcare system is alarming,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq, who has just completed a visit to the largest hospital in Mosul.

“For pregnant women, newborn babies, and children, preventable and treatable conditions can quickly escalate into a matter of life and death,” he said, warning that medical facilities are strained beyond capacity and there are critical shortages of life-saving medicines.

Three years of intense violence have devastated health facilities in Iraq. Over 60 health facilities have repeatedly come under attack since the escalation of violence in 2014, severely disrupting access to basic health services for children and families.

In Mosul, UNICEF has rehabilitated the pediatric and nutritional wards of two hospital centres, provided refrigerators to store vaccines for up to 250,000 children, and supported vaccination campaigns to immunize all children under five years old. Most health centres in the governorate have also re-started vaccination services for children.

UNICEF says the Reconstruction Conference for Iraq hosted by Kuwait next week is a unique opportunity for the Iraqi Government and the international community to put children at the heart of reconstruction, including through increased budget allocations to services for children.

Mr. Hawkins said what he saw in the hospitals in Mosul was both “heartbreaking and inspiring,” explaining that the ingenuity and dedication of health workers who are committed to giving newborn children the best possible start in life in the most challenging of circumstances is remarkable.

“They too deserve support so that they can continue to save lives,” he said.

UNICEF is appealing for $17 million to support rebuilding health facilities for children in Iraq in 2018.

(Source: UN)

Video: Book Culture Returns to Mosul

From AFP. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Literary cafes, poetry readings and pavement bookstalls — Mosul’s cultural scene is back in business, months after Iraqi forces ousted the Islamic State group from the city following three years of jihadist rule.

View on YouTube

115 Iraqi Civilians Killed in January

A total of 115 Iraqi civilians (not including police) were killed and another 250 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in January 2018*, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate, with 323 civilian casualties (90 killed, 233 injured). Diyala followed, with 8 killed and 15 injured; and Ninewa, with 13 killed and 7 injured. UNAMI has not been able to obtain the civilian casualty figures from the Anbar Health Department for the month of January.

“Terrorists continue to target civilians in irregular strikes, even though their capabilities have been largely destroyed. The twin suicide bombings on 15 January at Baghdad’s Tayran Square, which left numerous casualties among innocent workers and passersby, are proof of their indiscriminate disregard for human life,” said the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Mr. Ján Kubiš. “We must all continue to be vigilant in opposing this destructive violence”.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been limited in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum.

(Source: United Nations News Centre)

UK brings UNMAS Contribution to $20m

The UK Government has donated an additional 1 million GBP (1.3 million USD) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), increasing the UK total contribution to 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD).

The additional funding will boost UNMAS support to stabilization efforts by increasing survey and clearance of critical infrastructure in liberated areas. This is important before rehabilitation can commence and crucial for the safe, dignified and voluntary returns of displaced people.

The contribution will be used to deploy additional assets to Mosul during the months of January, February and March, in line with emergency operational needs. UNMAS began survey and clearance operations in Mosul’s Old City in late November 2017.

UNMAS efforts to ensure a coordinated stabilization response into Mosul have accelerated activities. Following planning meetings between the Government, UNMAS, UNDP, UN Habitat, UNEP, and UNESCO, UNMAS has now provided survey and clearance teams in five districts in the Old City.

UNMAS works in close collaboration with the Directorate for Mine Action and Iraqi Security Forces to complement the clearance work that has already taken place by the Government of Iraq following the liberation of Mosul.

Close collaboration with UNDP to provide survey and clearance capacities, as well as threat assessments, are an integral part of the Funding Facility for Stabilization’s (FFS) rapid needs assessment process in Mosul.

Between 1 December and 16 December 2017, UNMAS received 139 additional tasks from FFS, conducting survey and clearance in water treatment plants, hospitals and education centers. The additional funds will go towards continuing this response.

Jon Wilks, British Ambassador to Iraq, said:

“The survey and clearance work carried out by UNMAS is vital to the safety of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Iraq. This latest contribution demonstrates the UK’s enduring commitment to UNMAS’ work and to supporting humanitarian and stabilisation efforts in Iraq.”

Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager in Iraq, stated:

“Continuous support from the United Kingdom allows UNMAS to further extend its support and activities to enable stabilization priorities and humanitarian activities, encouraging the safe return of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to areas previously occupied by ISIL.”

Thanks to the generous contribution from the UK Government, UNMAS’ work has been made possible.

UNMAS will continue ensuring that explosive hazards are cleared in support of stabilization efforts and enabling access for humanitarian activities across Iraq. The total contribution of 14.2 million GBP (20 million USD) is supporting this life saving work in liberated areas of Anbar, Salah ah-Din, Ninewa and Kirkuk governorates.

(Source: United Nations)

US contributes $80m for Stabilization in Iraq

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has contributed an additional US$ 80.85 million to The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

US$ 75 million will go to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), with the remaining US$ 5.85 million committed to UNDP’s Funding Facility for Economic Reform (FFER). This brings the total United States contribution to UNDP to US$ 198.65 million since 2015.

UNDP’s FFS finances fast-track initiatives to stabilize areas liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to safeguard against the resurgence of violence and extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Through the FFER, UNDP helps the Government of Iraq to address key economic challenges and accelerate efforts to diversify the economy, increase national income and improve the management of national assets.

UNDP Resident Representative for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, said:

The progress that is being made is tangible—you can see it everywhere in newly liberated areas. Electricity grids are starting to work, water systems are being repaired, schools are opening, health centres are functioning and people are getting back to work.

“More than half of the nearly six million people who fled their homes during the conflict have returned to their communities and started rebuilding their lives. There’s no question that a huge amount still needs to be done, most importantly in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, and this is why this very generous contribution is so important for Iraq.

The United States’ Ambassador to Iraq, Douglas Silliman stressed that the USA’s commitment to the Iraqi people did not end with the eradication of ISIS. “Communities in the liberated areas now face the daunting challenge of rebuilding their lives and restoring their cultural heritage. These funds will help restore basic services like water and electricity so that Iraqi families of all ethnic and religious backgrounds can return to their homes – safely, voluntarily, and with dignity,” said Ambassador Silliman.

Established in June 2015, FFS is working in newly liberated areas in Anbar, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and Diyala Governorates in order to safeguard against the emergence of violent extremism, facilitate returns and lay the groundwork for reconstruction and recovery.

Two-thirds of the more than 1,600 projects currently underway are in Nineveh Governorate including 500 in Mosul and 280 throughout the Nineveh Plains.  Established in September 2016, FFER is mobilizing expertise to support the implementation of top priority reform initiatives under the leadership of the Office of the Prime Minister.

(Source: UNDP)