Livestock vaccination in MosulIt has been four months since Iraq’s successful recapture of their second-largest city, Mosul, from Islamic forces. After being under siege for three years, Iraq now has the opportunity to implement livestock vaccination in Mosul. Livestock is the second largest form of agricultural income for Mosul residents and approximately 12 million Iraqis depend on agriculture to live securely.

Since Mosul’s recapture in July 2017, thousands of families who had fled during the conflict returned to their homes to find their farms desecrated. Water supplies were contaminated, agricultural supplies destroyed and any surviving livestock had not been vaccinated since 2014. The lack of livestock vaccinations poses a threat of epidemic diseases that can spread to local residents and neighboring countries.

The United Nations and Iraq have come together to implement an emergency animal health campaign to vaccinate all livestock in the hopes it will end the fear and possibility of being exposed to an epidemic disease. Nearly one million sheep, goats, cattle and buffalo are said to be vaccinated. The Iraq Humanitarian Fund will provide the funds for the vaccinations in partnership with Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture. In addition, around 60,000 animals will be provided with nutrient-dense food.

The destruction of agriculture will evidently put a delay in the rehabilitation process, as it will take both time and money to rebuild the land. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released a statement seeking $74.5 million to assist 1.39 million Iraqis. The costs will include agricultural rehabilitation, vaccination and feeding of livestock and expansion of income-generating work and activities for the Iraqi people.

“FAO is committed to ensuring that livelihoods are protected, to promote people’s self-reliance and dignity, and reduce dependence on food assistance,” says Iraq FAO representative Fadel El-Zubi.

With the success of infrastructure restoration and livestock vaccination in Mosul, residents will rely less on humanitarian aid and will have access to producing and selling their own food. By next year, 200,000 Iraqi people should be able to begin earning an income from their agriculture again.

– Brianna Summ

Photo: Flickr

Rebuilding in West MosulIt has been nine months since Iraqi forces have taken back the city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and East Mosul has begun to come back to life. However, while men and women enjoy the pleasures of their new freedom, West Mosul is still recovering just a short two miles away.

Up until ISIL forces had a foothold in Mosul, al-Qaida terrorized the city with kidnappings and killings. Then in 2014, Mosul was taken by ISIL forces and declared a caliphate. Beginning in late 2016, Iraqi forces began to work to take back the city. It took nine long months of lives lost and neighborhoods destroyed to finally declare victory over ISIL on both sides of Mosul on July 9th, 2017. However, East Mosul was liberated much easier than West Mosul across the Tigris River, which was left devastated and has not yet been able to recover.

Obvious evidence of the fighting still lingers. The main bridges connecting East to West Mosul, for example, have been replaced by floating bridges since U.S. airstrikes destroyed them in order to stop ISIL forces from escaping. Furthermore, the once picturesque skyline has been fractured into pieces; shattered rooftops and buildings scorched black are now common throughout the city. Electricity and running water are still not available in West Mosul and many residents have attempted to dig wells in order to repair their damaged homes.

Since the devastation, many public services have gone by the wayside, one of the most important being schools. While some schooling is available in refugee camps for internally displaced Iraqis, some children have decided to instead stay home and help their families, like Ahmed Abdelsatter. His family lost their home in the fighting and the 17-year-old has now become the breadwinner, selling ice cream in a refugee camp. Along with the fact that many children are preoccupied with family issues, the makeshift schools lack teachers, supplies and books, making education even more different to access.

Thankfully, just last month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that the first major delivery of aid made it to West Mosul. ICRC has aimed to reach 64,000 citizens of West Mosul that have been severely impacted by the fighting.

While this brings promise, others from East Mosul have suggested fixing the roads from the two parts of the city in order for the people to begin “rebuilding themselves.” These are just the early stages of what will be a long fight in rebuilding the entire city of Mosul. Hopefully, with the help of both international and local organizations, West Mosul’s skyline will transform back to its pre-2014 days, and Mosul can once again be whole.

Sydney Roeder

Photo: Flickr