Rebuilding Mosul will be a bigger job than expected

The Islamic State's rule over Mosul is over, Iraqi security forces announced Monday, but they now face a long and costly effort to rebuild the city from the ruins of civil war.
By Lila Alexander | Jul 13, 2017
The Islamic State's rule over Mosul is over, Iraqi security forces announced Monday, but they now face a long and costly effort to rebuild the city from the ruins of civil war. The violence that the city has endured since ISIS captured it in 2014 and coalition forces launched an intensive nine-month battle last fall to drive ISIS out have leveled whole districts, displaced more than half of the residents, killed thousands more, and left survivors in the grip of mental and physical war trauma.

Coalition forces are still removing hidden bombs and capturing remnant ISIS fighters in the city's western half. The western neighborhoods were the scene of especially intense final bouts of fighting after coalition forces first secured eastern Mosul earlier this year. Lisa Grande, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said that six of western Mosul's 44 districts are completely obliterated.

"In western Mosul what we're seeing is the worst damage of the entire conflict. In those neighborhoods where the fighting has been the fiercest, we're looking at levels of damage incomparable to anything else that has happened in Iraq so far," Grande told Reuters.

The UN estimates that it will take a year and at least $1 billion to restore basic services, and billions more to restore buildings and neighborhoods. Airstrikes and ground combat have decimated electricity services, water works, bridges, and roads. The city is also coping with the loss of its famous 12th-century Grand Mosque, which ISIS destroyed when its defeat was imminent.

Surviving civilians warmly greeted the arriving coalition troops and danced in the streets in celebration. But millions of former residents are in refugee camps with no homes to return to.

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