An airstrike gouged a giant hole in the road that served as a vital supply route for ISIS before Kurdish fighters recaptured Shingal. Photo: Kurt Nagl/Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Three years of war have caused an estimated $650 million damage in the Kurdistan Region, said the construction and housing minister, detailing reconstruction plans.
“The damages are estimated to be $650 million from Jalawla to Shingal,” said Darbaz Kosrat Rasul in an interview with Rudaw, naming cities at the southern and northern extents of territory under Kurdistan’s control.
Since the ISIS war started in mid-2014, teams from Rasul’s ministry have been surveying the damage inflicted on the Kurdistan Region and Kurdistani areas that are now patrolled by the Kurdish Peshmerga after they were retaken from the extremist group in the course of the war.
Of Baghdad’s $100 million 2017 budget for reconstruction, Rasul said they were able to secure 10 percent for the disputed areas of Shingal, Zummar, Saadia, and Jalawla, also known as Gulala.
Shingal suffered the heaviest damage, accounting for $450 million of the total $650 million, said Rasul.
The city was retaken from ISIS in November 2015 and his ministry has studied its war damage, but he complained the presence of various armed groups in the region has deterred their ministry teams “from carrying out their work properly.”
He added there is a proposal to turn Shingal into a museum devoted to the Yezidi genocide at the hands of ISIS. This has been discussed with UN agencies and in government cabinet meetings.
“It is not a decree, but we have discussed it,” said Rasul. “The opinions of the Shingal people also matter because we do not want to make a unilateral decision.”
Jalawla comes second after Shingal in terms of damage, followed by areas in southern Kirkuk.
Some 12,000 homes were damaged between Jalawla and the Kurdistan Region-Syria border, some of which need complete rebuilding, the minister detailed.
A number of countries have provided financial aid to Iraq for reconstruction of war-torn areas. The central government has accumulated the sums in one account.
Rasul said initially basic service projects were not included in the account’s plans, but after the head of the account was changed, the KRG’s construction ministry was successful in securing ten percent of the aid for the Kurdistani areas.
“A conference is expected to be held in the March of 2018 in Kuwait in which an estimated five to ten billion dollars is expected to be obtained for Iraq,” he added.
The Kurdish Peshmerga fought ISIS militants alongside a 1,000 kilometer long disputed border starting from Jalawla and Saadia in the south all the way to Shingal.