One year after the liberation of Iraq’s Mosul city from a terrorist group, the United Nations on Saturday marked the anniversary with “many humanitarian achievements” and “a multitude of challenges”.
“One year later, many humanitarian achievements can be observed,” said Marta Ruedas, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.
Saturday marked the end of military operations by Iraqi security forces to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Mosul’s occupation by ISIL from June 2014 to July 2017 caused a humanitarian catastrophe with immense human suffering and enormous physical destruction.
Close to one million people were forced to flee the conflict in Mosul.
Assessments conducted by the UN and its humanitarian partners found that hospitals, bridges, schools, water treatment and power plants were contaminated with unprecedented quantities of explosive hazards and improvised explosive devices left by ISIL.
“Almost 870,000 people have now returned to Mosul”, said Ms. Ruedas.
Key achievements by humanitarians included:
- The UN refugee agency, known formally as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has established six camps for displaced Mosul residents in Ninewa governorate and in the Kurdistan Region.
- The UN migration agency, or the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has established two community resource centres in Mosul to facilitate the reintegration of returnees.
- The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has helped rehabilitate one-third of the 638 schools that have re-opened and enabled more than half a million girls and boys to return to local schools.
- The World Food Programme (WFP) and the government has provided emergency school meals to 87,000 school children in 145 primary schools and four kindergartens in West Mosul from March to May.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has placed 53 ambulances in Ninewa governorate, and relocated two field hospitals to deliver emergency healthcare services to returnees in West Mosul.
- The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) supported 16 primary health care clinics by providing almost 800,000 reproductive health consultations to women and girls, and deployed six mobile reproductive health clinics and teams.
- The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has helped rebuilt infrastructure and is working to rebuild the electric grid that will keep the health, education and water supply running in Mosul.
- The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has removed more than 43,700 explosive hazards, including 1,000 improvised explosive devices from roads, bridges, schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, water treatment plants and municipal buildings.
- The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has rehabilitated 257 conflict-damaged houses in West Mosul, allowing almost 3,000 people to return home.
Despite these achievements, extensive humanitarian needs remain in Mosul and across Iraq.
“While it is heartening to see life returning to Mosul, close to 2 million people in Iraq remain displaced and those who have chosen to return to the city and other liberated areas face a multitude of challenges,” said Ms. Ruedas.
The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for the most vulnerable 3.4 million people is only 54 per cent funded.
Humanitarians urgently require an additional $260.5 million to address the critical needs of Iraqis.