Rebuilding Mosul in the midst of a pandemic

July 23, 2020

Photo: Claire Thomas/UNDP Iraq

No one could predict that in 2020 we would be faced with an unprecedented global pandemic. For Mosul, which today is still reeling from the effects of ISIL’s four-year brutal rule, COVID-19 presented a crisis upon crises affecting the city’s quest for stability. Under its Funding facility for Stabilization Programme (FFS), UNDP has been active in Mosul before its liberation, working to restore critical infrastructure and services, provide short-term job opportunities, and build cohesion amongst its fragmented communities.

To mitigate health risk and to safeguard the safety and health of workers and communities, UNDP temporarily halted its field operations in mid-March, to comply with the curfews and movement restrictions instructed by the Iraqi Government and health advice provided by the World Health Organization.

Today, critical work on rebuilding Iraq’s second city has resumed, in strict accordance with preventive measures like mandatory PPE and social distancing. Given the scale and impact of UNDP’s projects in Mosul, the need to continue this critical work could no longer await.

Mosul University: The iconic Central library and University Hall

The University Theater Hall,which was the biggest hall within Mosul university, was badly burned during Mosul’s liberation. Now, work is progressing with twenty-five workers back to work while maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and receiving frequent temperature checks.

“We feel safe to be back to work as all health measures are in place like wearing gloves and masks. We keep social distancing as well,” says Talib, 42 years old, a site worker in the Theater Hall. “ The suspension of work for three months due to COVID-19 had a tough impact on our families since we work daily to provide their basic needs”.

Likewise, work in the iconic Central Library, which was established inside the Mosul University and is a cornerstone of the academic campus, was totally burnt and was struck with several rockets during the military operations against ISIL. Today, FFS resumed rehabilitation work with forty workers back to site. They work while abiding by preventive health measures to fight #COVID19.

In both sites, weekly briefings are held with teams to update them on health measures, and regular monitoring of these measures are in place.

 Ibn Al Atheer Hospital

As the sole pediatric hospital in Mosul and with an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 children in Ninewa Governorate, many families rely on this critical facility to access healthcare services. UNDP recently restarted the rehabilitation of Ibn Al Atheer Hospital in Mosul.

Twenty-five workers recommenced work, maintaining preventive health measures to fight #COVID19.This hospital, which was badly damaged during the liberation of the city, will employ some 500 medical staff to take care of patients’ needs, once fully rehabilitated.

Mosul University Women’s education building

UNDP works tirelessly to ensure that all women have an equal right to access an education. At the Women’s Education building in Mosul’s University, the rehabilitation work is well underway. Thirty workers returned to the site while adhering to new preventive health measures, like wearing masks and gloves.

“We resumed work on site only after we received guidance from UNDP with health measures to be respected,” explains Thabet, 30 years old, a site worker in Mosul.

To date, UNDP has completed 760 stabilization projects in Mosul,  benefitting more than five million people. Another 73  are currently underway.