One year after Mosul was retaken from the Islamic State, the Iraqi city remains in ruins. Over 380,000 people in and around Mosul are still displaced, and more than eight million tons of debris is yet to be cleared, according to a report issued by the Norwegian Refugee Council on Thursday.
“What was hailed by the Iraqi authorities and the international community as a victory a year ago has not translated to relief from abject misery for many Iraqis from Mosul,” Wolfgang Gressmann, the NRC’s Iraq Country Director said.
Gressmann was critical of the international community’s response to the situation in Mosul, saying it has been inadequate.
“Unfortunately, over the last year, we have seen very nominal support for the displaced people of Iraq from the international community,” he said. “It’s unthinkable that families who have been suffering for years under Islamic State group are now suffering because of the lack of international support. Without financial support, Iraq will remain plagued by instability and despair.”
The owner of a bakery in Western Mosul told the NRC that he hasn’t seen any change in the city in the last year.
“I came back a year ago after the fighting ended. So far, we haven’t seen any change in the city. My area is still destroyed and most of the support comes from the people themselves,” he said.
Islamic State fighters seized control of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, in June of 2014. Shortly after, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself “caliph” from the city’s Nuri Mosque and outlined his intention to create a caliphate in the region.
After eight months of intense fighting, the Iraqi government and its coalition took control of Mosul in early July of 2017. The coalition’s victory in Mosul was seen as a major breakthrough in the broader war against the Islamic State. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hailed the victory as the “end of the Daesh [ISIS] state of falsehood.”
A year later, around 54,000 homes in Mosul remain destroyed, the NRC report said. 62 schools are completely destroyed and 207 are damaged. Over 90 percent of the Western part of the city lies devastated, and 80 percent of the city’s youth are unemployed. The NRC estimates that over $800 million is needed to repair the city’s basic infrastructure.