Recovery in Iraq's war-torn Mosul 'tale of two cities'

Recovery in Iraq's war-torn Mosul a 'tale of two cities'
2 min read
09 August, 2017
While schools and shops re-open in the east of Iraq's Mosul, the west side is still a scene of destruction, with 230,000 residents having nowhere to return to.
Whole neighbourhoods in the western part of Mosul have been destroyed [Getty]
As schools and markets begin to re-open in war-torn eastern Mosul, whole neighbourhoods of the western part of the Iraqi city have been destroyed and nearly a quarter of a million people have nowhere to return "anytime soon," a senior United Nations official has said.

Speaking to the press in Geneva, Lise Grande, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, said the contrast between the east and the west of the city could not be clearer. Indeed: "Everyone's gone home to eastern Mosul except for 20,000 people."

"Mosul's really a tale of two cities. Eastern Mosul is a city that's recovering, people are home, schools are open, businesses are open, markets are open. Conditions aren't great but it's a city on the mend," she said.

Yet, the situation is very different in western Mosul, explained Grande, who is also the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

"In the 15 completely destroyed neighbourhoods, there are 230,000 civilians who come from those districts who are not coming home anytime soon."

Overall, she said that Mosul, which had been the site of the single largest urban battle since the Second World War, had also witnessed the largest managed evacuation in modern history, with nearly one million civilians assisted out of the city.

"Very exceptionally, humanitarian agencies were not near the front line, they were on the front line," she stated.

See in pictures:  As Islamic State militants retreat, what’s left of Mosul?

In all, some 3.3 million people across Iraq remain outside their homes, including those recently displaced from Mosul.

In the wake of the Iraqi campaign to oust the Islamic State group from Mosul, she said that there are three more military operations that are expected: in Tal Afar; in Hawija; and in the Euphrates Valley, western Anbar Province.

"We think that by the end of those military operations several hundred thousand more civilians are likely to be displaced. [As such] when the military campaign in Iraq is over, we are possibly looking at 3.5 million civilians who will need to go home," she said.

The UN said last month repairing Mosul's infrastructure after the US-backed Iraqi offensive against IS will cost more than $1 billion.