In Rudaw 

Iraq’s Ramadi makes strides in post-ISIS reconstruction effort

After a major reconstruction campaign by the Iraqi government, much of Anbar province’s war-torn Ramadi no longer resembles a city once overrun by the Islamic State (ISIS).

“When we came back to Ramadi [after ISIS was defeated in February 2016], it had been devastated. Ramadi has now been reconstructed and developed,” shopkeeper Zakir Abdulla told Rudaw on Wednesday. “It is reconstructed in a way that it has not been for the past 100 years, including paving roads, repairing the sewage systems, and making public parks.”

The work was done by Baghdad in coordination with international donors and organizations.

“We are in the post-Daesh phase,” noted coffee seller Musa Ahmed. “Five years on, the situation has improved compared with the past.”

Up to 80 percent of Ramadi’s population who were displaced by the ISIS war has returned home. But Baghdad has come under fire for closing IDP camps on short notice.

Human rights organizations say some people are being forced into homelessness and poverty, and are worried about the safety of returning families. They demand all returns of displaced families must be voluntary.

And residents of Ramadi say their city needs more work.

“We ask for a project to be established for Ramadi island. The dam is in bad shape and needs to be repaired,” university student Mohammed Abdulla.

Others say beautification and more infrastructure is needed.

“There are currently parks, buildings, and reconstruction as a whole available. We demand more for the city to become much more beautiful,” resident Salih Fayaz notes.

“The most important thing we demand from the governor is a hospital. The lack of a hospital is causing us trouble,” he added.

Of 112 bridges destroyed by ISIS in Iraq, 96 of them have been reconstructed.

More than 100 service and 56 investment projects are currently underway in Anbar.

Adnan Abdulla, assistant governor of Anbar for technical affairs, spoke to Rudaw about the current project’s underway in the province.

“The [Anbar] governorate currently implements 500 projects. The bulk of the projects are designed to repair destroyed facilities,” he said. “The reconstruction is being implemented in coordination with the governorate of Anbar and organizations and on [the federal] budget earmarked for reconstructing war-damaged areas. The [Iraqi] Central Bank too has funded us in some of the projects, it’s too little, but very effective.”

Officials from Baghdad have estimated that rebuilding the country after ISIS will take between $80 and $100 billion. Source