Recent rainstorm in Mosul adds to the devastation facing the residents of the Old City, damaging homes and infrastructure.
Declared the capital of the ISIS’ so-called caliphate in 2014, the Iraqi city of Mosul was the centre of ISIS’ control in Iraq. Although ISIS’ bloody reign over Mosul is now over, a new danger threatens the residents of Mosul, and those in the Old City in particular. With heavy rains hitting the city, many homes and buildings – some built after the group’s defeat in Iraq in 2017 – have been left in a precarious state.
The storms have already caused some of Mosul’s infrastructure to collapse. While 90% of the 11,000 homes damaged by the war on ISIS have been rehabilitated so far, the lack of sufficiently robust building materials, along with the damage caused by car bombs, and remnant mines, has meant that homes in Mosul have been unable to withstand the recent rainstorm. On top of this, deteriorating infrastructure and sewage networks have resulted in the leaking of large quantities of water into basements.
“The walls are collapsing in the area and many people are being hurt because of this”, stated a Mosul resident.
Nearly 6,000 people who returned to these homes have been affected, and they now live in fear. “All the houses are damaged, my house moved 10 cm from its place, and I am afraid that it might collapse on my children”, admitted another resident.
Efforts to rebuild homes in the Old City are faced with the issue that many of them are listed as World Heritage Sites. This means any reconstruction must keep protection of cultural sites as one of the highest priorities. This is particularly important for Mosul, as ISIS’ takeover and subsequent conflict resulted in the damage or destruction of many of the city’s most important sites, such as Al-Nouri Mosque and Al-Hadbaa Minaret.
The World Bank has estimated that losses to the Mosul housing sector alone are estimated at US $6billion. Despite the scale of destruction, the arrival of help has been slow, meaning the residents of Mosul are struggling to rebuild their lives.