Rudaw

  In Rudaw 

Baghdad ‘negligent’ in reconstruction of Mosul: mayor

Out of 60,000 compensation applications sent to Baghdad from Mosul, only 2,000 of them have received a response and been resolved, the mayor of Iraq’s northern city told Rudaw on Friday, calling the central government “negligent.”

“We have submitted around 60,000 compensation requests for the people in Nineveh province, but the federal government has solved only around 2,000 of those cases,” Zuhair al-Araji, mayor of Mosul, told Rudaw’s Samia Hassan on Friday. “These cases are families who are poor and need aid to rebuild their homes.”

He said these delays are why areas of the city are still in ruins almost four years after the Islamic State (ISIS) group was declared defeated in Mosul.

ISIS first swept into Iraq in 2014, capturing cities across northern and central Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and the capital of Nineveh province, where the group declared its so-called caliphate.

At the height of its power, ISIS controlled a contiguous area of Iraq and Syria equivalent in size to the entire United Kingdom, subjecting close to ten million people to its extreme interpretation of Islam. It also caused the forced displacement of more than a million Iraqis who fled the organization’s brutal violence. These internally displaced people (IDPs) moved into camps, mostly located in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

The city of Mosul was severely damaged and some neighbourhoods all but demolished during an offensive by Iraqi, Kurdish, and global coalition forces to retake the city. Control was finally wrestled from the terrorist group in summer 2017.

Almost four years later, the people of the city are still working to rebuild and their efforts have been stalled by Baghdad, Araji claimed.

“After ISIS, we went back into a destroyed city. The former administration [in Baghdad] also acknowledged that the city is destroyed, but they did not do much for the city and have neglected the reconstruction process,” he said.

Bodies of both civilians and ISIS militants still lie under the rubble, giving off a bad odor and preventing locals from returning. Araji said they have two teams digging bodies out of the ruins on a daily basis and “so far we have found 2,393 civilian bodies and 2,600 ISIS bodies.”

The city’s basic infrastructure is also in need of repair.

With the Tigris River flowing through the centre, Mosul was famous for its many bridges, most of which were destroyed or damaged during the war against ISIS.

“Out of the five main bridges of Mosul, two have been rebuilt, and a third will be fully rebuilt within a month. However, there are nearly 70 smaller bridges in the city and only 30 of them have been rebuilt,” Araji said.

Reconstruction of one of Mosul’s most famous landmarks is underway. During the Mosul offensive when Iraqi and coalition forces were advancing, ISIS blew up al-Nuri mosque. Built in the 12th century during the Turkic Zengid dynasty that ruled over parts of modern-day Iraq and Syria, the mosque was famous for its “hunchback” — the leaning al-Hadba minaret, a symbol of the city featured on Iraqi banknotes.

“The reconstruction of the mosque started two years ago after a deal with UNESCO. The expenses are covered by the United Arab Emirates which adds up to $50,400,000. However the process is very slow and we have expressed our concern multiple times regarding this issue,” Araji said. Source