MOSUL, Iraq — In March, VICE returned to Mosul for the first time since the war against ISIS was declared over eight months ago.
While life may be returning to normal in the eastern half of the city, on the other side of the river — where the fighting was most intense — the scale of rebuilding that needs to be done is monumental. It’s estimated there are still 8 million tons of conflict debris that need to be moved before reconstruction can start, equivalent to three times the size of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. About 75 percent of that rubble is in West Mosul, and it’s mixed with so much unexploded ordnance that experts say this is now one of the most contaminated spots on the planet.
In the Old City, where ISIS made its last stand, residents have slowly started to come back – a few business owners hoping to repair shops, and families who have no other option but to live in their damaged homes. Some water tanks have been trucked in, and electricity cables have been temporarily patched together along some streets, but the place feels deserted, and in some ways the scene was not that different from how it looked shortly after the fighting.
Thumbnail photo credit: Adam Desiderio/VICE News.
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