ISIS Destruction of Nineveh Plains Totals $42 Billion, Says Province Governor

ICC Note: The total cost of rebuilding Iraq after decades of destruction comes to $88.2 billion, with nearly half of that number attributed to rebuilding in the Nineveh Plains. The province is home to most of Iraq’s Christians, who were specifically targeted by ISIS. Large numbers of Christians fled  in 2014 when the militants invaded the Nineveh Plains in force. Now that ISIS has been defeated militarily (but not ideologically), Christians are beginning to return home. The devastation they find, however, makes daily life incredibly difficult.

02/14/2018 Iraq (Military Times) –  Kuwait on Monday opened a week of conferences seeking aid for rebuilding Iraq after the onslaught of the Islamic State group, seeking tens of billions of dollars for a nation only a generation ago that invaded it.

Authorities estimate Iraq needs $88.2 billion to restore a country smashed after the Sunni extremists seized the country’s second-largest city of Mosul and a mass of territory in June 2014.

While the U.S. will not make any new direct aid pledges at the conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to announce an over $3 billion financial package, an American official said. Still, far more money will be needed, Iraqi officials say.

“We finished one battle but we are engaged now with a war for reconstruction,” said Mustafa al-Hiti, the head of Iraq’s reconstruction fund for areas affected by terrorist operations.

Among the hardest-hit areas is Mosul, which Iraqi forces, aided by Iranian-backed Shiite militias and a U.S.-led coalition, recaptured in July 2017. Their victory came at a steep cost for Mosul, as coalition airstrikes and extremist suicide car bombs destroyed homes and government buildings.

Of the money needed, Iraqi officials estimate $17 billion alone needs to go toward rebuilding homes, the biggest single line item offered Monday on the first day of meetings. The United Nations estimates 40,000 homes need to be rebuilt in Mosul alone.

“The majority of the damage was to western Mosul as it went through one of the worst and fiercest battles in history,” said Nofal al-Akoub, the governor of Iraq’s Nineveh province. It “led to the total destruction of its infrastructure.”

Al-Akoub said $42 billion was needed for his province alone, as it is home to Mosul. Iraq needs some $20 billion now to begin its reconstruction, al-Hiti said.

The war against the Islamic State group displaced more than 5 million people. Only half have returned to their hometowns in Iraq.

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