The Governor of Anbar, Mr. Sohaib al-Rawi, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Lise Grande, visited Ramadi today to assess conditions and provide urgently needed support to families returning to their homes.
The delegation met with security forces and representatives of the local government and police to discuss the scope and density of IED (improvised explosive devices) contamination. Early assessments confirm that infestation is widespread; roads, commercial buildings, houses and public spaces are infested, putting civilians trying to return at grave risk.
Experts are estimating that Ramadi could be one of the worst infested cities in the world. Officials confirmed to the delegation that 48 civilians, including IED clearance personnel, have been killed and 83 wounded by IEDs.
“It is a tragedy that people are dying and injured because of booby-traps. Removing these terrible devises is a top priority. The reality is that many, if not most neighbourhoods in Ramadi aren’t yet safe”, said Ms. Grande. “People have already suffered so much and they are impatient to go home. This is completely understandable. IED clearance is time-consuming and it’s difficult, but it’s essential to ensure that people are safe”.
The Anbar Government and FFIS are starting stabilization work in al-Saidiqiya and al-Matheeq neighbourhoods. A number of priority activities are expected to start in areas as soon as they are declared free of IEDs. Under a plan agreed with the Anbar Government, FFIS will repair water systems, provide cash grants to businesses, rehabilitate health facilities and public buildings and employ hundreds of young people on work brigades.