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Nearly 5,700 Buildings in Iraq's Ramadi Damaged, U.N. Report - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Sunni people are pictured as they flee the violence in the city of Ramadi, Iraq May 15, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Sunni people are pictured as they flee the violence in the city of Ramadi, Iraq May 15, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

Since mid-2014, around 5,700 constructions in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi and its outskirts have suffered some level of damage, and almost 2,000 buildings have turned to ruins, the United Nations reported on Monday, citing satellite images.

Ramadi, once home to about 500,000 people, now largely lies in ruins, the report assessing the devastation revealed.

Iraq declared as government forces regained full control of Ramadi after pushing ISIS group fighters out of the city’s outskirts in December, seizing the main government building in the city, the provincial capital of Anbar. But more than six months of fighting shattered most infrastructure and levelled many homes in the city.

The impact of ISIS bomb attacks and U.S.-led coalition air strikes has been documented by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, which compared satellite imagery collected last month with images from July 2014.

The analysis showed more than 3,200 structures in the city centre have been affected, with 1,165 destroyed. Those figures nearly double when outlying areas are included.

It is not clear what percentage of Ramadi has been affected, but the imagery shows that all central districts and almost every block have incurred at least some damage.

Also, local estimates said that more than 60 percent of Anbar’s provincial capital had been destroyed by constant air bombardment and the scorched-earth practices of ISIS fighters in retreat.
A U.N. statement described the analysis as preliminary and said it had not been validated in the field. Baghdad has not yet declared the city safe for return; given that Iraqi Special Forces clashed with militants in some districts as recently as last week.
“The level of destruction in Ramadi is as bad as anything we have seen in Iraq,” said Lise Grande, the U.N.’s deputy special representative to Iraq after last week’s preliminary assessment of the damage. Iraqi and coalition officials estimated that rebuilding Ramadi could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The cash-strapped government in Baghdad is seeking support from international donors to help rebuild Ramadi, the largest city retaken from ISIS. But it must first clear explosives planted by the militants in streets and buildings – an effort which also requires funding that Iraq lacks.

The United Nations is working with local authorities on plans to rebuild health, water and energy infrastructure. Meanwhile, displaced residents are waiting in camps or rented accommodations in other parts of the country.

Securing the city is expected to take months before reconstruction can begin.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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