High level UN mission to Ramadi to launch stabilization activities

Mar 22, 2016

“It is a tragedy that people are dying and injured because of booby-traps. Removing these terrible devices is a top priority," said Ms. Grande during her visit to Ramadi. Photo: UNDP Iraq/2016

Ramadi – 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 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) 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 devices 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 UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization (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. Five generators have been already installed to help restart the electrical grid and three more were delivered today by the delegation.

“The Anbar Government has actively assisted the return of more than 630 families to al-Saidiqiya and another 250 to al-Matheeq in Ramadi district. We need to provide urgent assistance to help these families rebuild their lives,” said Governor al-Rawi. “We honour those who have lost their lives in the liberation of Anbar. I thank the Iraqi Security Forces, particularly the Anbar police, for their commitment to removing IEDs. We need help from the international community to accelerate this. Making sure that people come home in safety and dignity is our collective responsibility.”

UNDP’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilization works in areas newly liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Based on priorities identified by local authorities, UNDP helps to quickly repair public infrastructure, provides grants to small businesses, promotes civil engagement and community reconciliation and provides short-term employment through public works schemes.

Press Release in Arabic (download)

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