A new report issued by the UN, compiled using satellite photographs, reveals that approximately 5,700 buildings in Ramadi and its suburbs have been damaged since mid-2014, as many as 2,000 of which have been destroyed completely.

The Iraqi Government announced last December that it had recaptured Ramadi after the Iraqi flag was raised over the government compound in the city.  But six months later the conditions remain challenging, a large part of the city having been destroyed and more than half a million people displaced due to the heavy fighting between government forces and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL].

The UN has highlighted the impact of air raids conducted by the coalition aerial campaign, which had a major role in liberating the city. UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, compared satellite photographs taken from January 2016 and comparable images taken in July 2014.

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Ramadi after liberation

5,700 buildings in Ramadi and its suburbs damaged since mid-2014

2,000 buildings destroyed since mid-2014

3,200 buildings damaged in the central areas of the city

1,165 buildings destroyed in the central areas of the city

After completing the research it was revealed that 3,200 buildings were damaged and 1,165 buildings destroyed in the centre of the city. The numbers almost double when you add the other areas, as the report reveals around 5,700 buildings suffered damage of some sort in Ramadi and its suburbs and approximately 2,000 buildings now beyond repair.

The numbers are provisional, and the Iraqi government hasn’t provided any figures regarding damage suffered by the city, but the photographs appear to confirm that a majority of the buildings in the city have been compromised in one way or another.

The return of the residents to the city is likely to take months because of the destruction and IED left behind by fleeing ISIL fighters, and the Iraqi Government, suffering from a severe financial crisis due to the fall in oil prices, is looking to international donors to help rebuild the city, the largest recaptured by Iraqi forces so far.