International community must act immediately or risk future chaos warns leading UK charity in Mosul on the anniversary of battle
Human Appeal, who have the biggest aid operation of all British NGOs working in Mosul and are based in Greater Manchester, says that if the international community does not support the city’s recovery, following the campaign to retake Mosul from ISIS which began a year ago today, then it is likely that instability and conflict could resurface in Iraq’s beleaguered second city in the coming years.
The battle to control Mosul began on October 17th 2016, however Omar Ali, who is Human Appeal’s Head of Mission in Iraq, is warning the international community to ‘act now or risk future chaos in the years to come.’
Omar also expresses concerns in regard to the recent tensions in between the Kurdish Regional Government and the Federal Government of Iraq: “One of the considerable successes of the Mosul campaign, from a humanitarian perspective, was how the Federal Iraqi and Kurdish authorities accommodated NGOs to facilitate frontline assistance to those in need during and following the conflict. However, with the current internal uncertainty, we are primarily concerned how this will affect, and potentially hinder, our ability to conduct on-going daily life-saving work. We hope that both the Federal Iraqi and Kurdish governments will be able to continue to commit in good faith to facilitate the vital work of the humanitarian community.
Whilst we are right to be concerned about the internal uncertainty looming over other areas of Iraq during the past week’s events, we must not ignore that today is a major milestone in Mosul. A year ago today, the Battle of Mosul began and whilst those outside of Iraq might think that the operation is over, it is clear to us here on the ground that if the international community does not rally around to support Mosul’s early-recovery, reconstruction, economic revival and social cohesion quickly, it is more likely that conflict and violent politics may manifest itself again in future years, which will further destroy the lives of many that have already suffered.”
Whilst NGOs like Human Appeal have been ramping up the aid operation here in Mosul, there are still a lot of needs still to be met, such as mental health treatment and psychosocial support for both adults and children. A huge investment in mental health experts is needed to rid the psychological trauma that has scarred Mosul’s consciousness. We need to start talking about how we rebuild people, as well as infrastructure.
We at Human Appeal have conducted nearly 20,000 household assessments in Mosul, reaching around 120,000 people and their key worries for their city and their future of Mosul are jobs, safety, security and key human rights such as access to education and clean water. It has been estimated that it will take 25 years before Mosul is decontaminated from unexploded objects. This, I fear, is a fitting analogy for Mosul – lying within the city’s ruins are a series of potential explosives and we need to work now to prevent future damage.”
Author : Emily Fitzgibbons
Editor at The Glossy Magazine | Journalist & Office Manager at Salutions Limited