People from the Iraqi city of Abu Ghraib have said that life is slowly returning to the city after a long period without water and sustained neglect.
Abu Ghraib, which is located just 20km west of Baghdad, was the closest city to the Iraqi capital that ISIS militants reached back in 2014. However, the group never managed to take full control of Abu Ghraib, despite maintaining an operational presence. Nevertheless the scars and damage remain etched onto the walls, streets, and infrastructure of the city following the clashes between the Iraqi forces and ISIS militants that took place over three years ago.
But now the damage incurred in the fighting is being repaired. The Fallujah 5 water plant, which provides water to 18 villages spanning 11 acres in southern Abu Ghraib, has finally been fixed. Residents had to make do without water, “the element that gives life to the earth” as one man puts it, for three years or find alternatives sources of water.
“Fallujah 5 station was entirely repaired after being completely destroyed,” said one man. “This work is distinctive in that an enormous effort was spent under exceptional circumstances and with very low cost.”
The reparation of the plant was carried out by local people, a further indication of a burgeoning local campaigns cropping up across Anbar Province in Iraq. The work took 2 months with constant effort by those involved.
With the fall of ISIS in towns and cities in Anbar Province, to which Abu Ghraib belongs, this initiative will hopefully be one of many that will see further life return to the city. Yet, security remains a perpetual concern for residents. Following the liberation of Fallujah in 2016, ISIS targeted neighbouring Abu Ghraib in an attempt to garner mistrust among civilians and the security forces, as well as create chaos.
Since that time, IED and suicide bomb attacks have been a regular feature of life in the city. In November, three separate bombs wounded eight people and killed a police conscript after a bomb was placed underneath his car.