The defeat of ISIS in Mosul and the liberation of the city from the militants was a great victory that many Iraqis celebrated. For some, however, the victory has come at a great cost. Widely considered as the most intense urban fighting since World War II, the Battle of Mosul and the three-year ISIS occupation prior has left many scars in its wake, both physical and mental.
Healing these scars is just as important as rebuilding homes and cities. To this end, the Kuwaiti Consul in Erbil, Omar al-Kandari, launched a campaign to help rebuild hospitals in Mosul as well as provide treatment and rehabilitation towards the people of Mosul who have been injured by the fighting. Kandari says that he hopes his campaign will help rebuild the majority medical centres and hospitals in the city while expanding the few expanding some of the existing ones to cope with the increased demand.
Until the reconstruction in Mosul is complete, the advanced stages of rehabilitation for these patients is taking place in the city of Erbil, which has been spared much of the destruction of the war. As a result, the city is in a better position to accommodate the special needs of these patients.
For the patients undergoing treatment, the opportunity of rehabilitation is a source of joy. Many of them had become immobile and unable to traverse through the maze-like and debris-littered streets of Mosul, becoming confined to their homes for months at a time. In a country where attitudes towards disabilities remain somewhat old-fashioned, many of these people felt a sense of abandonment from the lack of support they received. The notion that they may be able to regain some semblance of normality and mobility in their lives is a source of optimism for many.
Both Iraq and Syria have witnessed the opening of numerousrehabilitation and treatment centres for disabled people. It is the inevitable outcome of conflicts that have caused much suffering and left many scars in their wake. Indeed, the sheer scale of the issue will require these countries and their societies to radically alter how they approach the matter of mental and physical disabilities resulting from trauma.