A simple Facebook initiative to clear rubble has turned into a wide-scale campaign to rehabilitate the Old City of Mosul.
As more people seek to return to their homes in Mosul, the need to clear up parts of the city still covered in debris becomes more and more urgent. The 9-month long battle to liberate Mosul from the grips of ISIS brought about untold damage to the city. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said the war in Mosul has left an estimated 11 million tonnes of debris, with two-thirds of the explosive hazards thought to be under the rubble.
This debris is one of the main problems preventing normal life from returning to Mosul. Parts of the city are unaccessible due to the damage and schools, shops and markets are still closed as a result of the seemingly never-ending rubble.
The United Nations estimates that it will take over a decade to remove all the debris and clear the city of unexploded mines, that were left behind by the terrorist group in an attempt to deter the return of displaced people and make life, for those living in the city, hell.
However, the residents of Mosul are determined to carry on their lives despite the challenges and have taken it upon themselves to clear their areas of the city from the rubble. This group of young men are volunteers who want to give back to their community and neighbourhood and facilitate the return of their fellow Moslawis.
The campaign started out as a simple initiative on Facebook, and grew into a fully-fledged campaign with hundreds of young volunteers across the city. As a result of their efforts, many families have begun to return to their homes.
“The area was not inhabited, it was a ghost town which could never be inhabited. Praise be to God that we are now back and sleeping in our home. There is safety thanks to their efforts,” said one woman living in the Old City of Mosul.
Volunteers in this campaign hope that the central or provincial government provide them the support to continue their work across the whole of Mosul.