Residents of Shingal sit in the ruins that remain more than two years after the town was liberated from ISIS. Photo: Rudaw video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Life is rough for the families who have returned to Shingal, living without healthcare or schools more than two years after ISIS was routed from the town. Yezidi leaders hope their regions will benefit from the international donor conference happening this week in Kuwait, even though Baghdad has not prepared any proposals for Shingal, according to a Yezidi MP.
Some 13,000 Yezidi families have returned to their homes in Shingal. They complain about lack of services where 80 percent of the town was damaged in the battle to defeat ISIS.
"By God life here is difficult – no gas, no doctor. When we go to the hospital, there is nothing. By God's name, whenever we go there and get an injection we do not find it. There are no teachers. Our children go to schools but there are no teachers,” Xonaf Heji, a resident of Shingal, told Rudaw.
The town was liberated more than two years ago, in November 2015, by Kurdish forces including Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Region and PKK fighters. It came under Iraqi central control last October when the Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi took over much of the disputed areas.
"By God there are no doctors, no streets, no water, no gas. There is not even one clinic here. There is no one for injections. There is no medicine. There is nothing here. Services are zero,” said Xeri Shivan, another resident who has returned.
An administrator, installed by the Hashd al-Shaabi for the town of Snune in the Shingal region, said that water and electricity services should be up and running soon.
Khudeda Juke, commissioner of Snune
“For three years in this area everyone knows there was no water. But inshallah in the coming two to three days [there will be] electricity. We have brought a mobile electricity station. We have brought a cement plant as well. We will do our best to bring water back to the city,” Khudeda Juke, commissioner of Snune, told Rudaw.
Iraq has estimated that it will need $100 billion to reconstruct the country after the end of military operations against ISIS.
Kuwait is hosting an International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq that began on Monday and runs through Wednesday and is attended by political leaders and potential private sector investors.
Yezidi MP Vian Dakhil noted that Iraq is not taking to the donor conference a single proposal for reconstruction of the Shingal district, despite the city being officially declared a war-damaged zone.
Murad Ismail, executive director of Yezidi advocacy group Yazda, will visit Kuwait to participate in the conference.
“Yazda hopes that the conference will succeed and come out with contributions and decisions that will serve the areas of Yazidi and other minorities by helping to provide assistance to the Iraqi crisis in terms of reconstruction and rebuilding various areas that destroyed during ISIS invasion since 2014,” read a statement from the organization.
Yazda hopes that the Yezidis and other minorities will receive a good share of the funded projects.
At a conference for NGOs on the first day of the Kuwait gathering, more than $330 million was pledged, according to Kuwait’s state media.
Pledges included $122.5 million from Kuwaiti charitable organizations and $212.3 million internationally, including $130 million in programs from the International Committee of the Red Cross.