By John Lee.

A ferry on Tigris River near Mosul sank on Thursday afternoon, leaving at least 93 dead.

According to Xinhua, the ferry capsized because of “high water levels” while crossing from the bank of the river to a small tourist island called Um al Rabeein.

It cites a civil defense source as saying that the ferryboat, owned by a tourism office, was overloaded with more than 100 people, while being designed to carry just 30 people.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi has declared official mourning all over Iraq, embassies, consulates in and out the country for three days.

(Source: Xinhua)

By John Lee.

A ferry on Tigris River near Mosul sank on Thursday afternoon, leaving at least 93 dead.

According to Xinhua, the ferry capsized because of “high water levels” while crossing from the bank of the river to a small tourist island called Um al Rabeein.

It cites a civil defense source as saying that the ferryboat, owned by a tourism office, was overloaded with more than 100 people, while being designed to carry just 30 people.

Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi has declared official mourning all over Iraq, embassies, consulates in and out the country for three days.

(Source: Xinhua)

By John Lee.

A report from Bellingcat claims to have identified the source of a mysterious black sludge in Mosul Lake.

Analysis of open source satellite images suggest a combination of oil waste water, caused by either oil dumping or flooding of polluted rivers by the winter rains.

Click here to read the full report.

(Source: Bellingcat)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is rehabilitating 15,000 houses in West Mosul, bringing the total number of houses in its stabilization portfolio to more than 30,000 – the largest of its kind in Iraq.

The project in West Mosul covers 29 neighbourhoods that were hardest hit during the fight to liberate the city from the Islamic State, including the Old City where the militants declared their caliphate. It will enable 90,000 people to return home.

“This rehabilitation project is a critical step for families wanting to settle back into their homes in Mosul after three years of turmoil and hardship,” says Head of UNDP’s Stabilization programme, Dr. Mohammed siddig Mudawi.

“We know it works. Through our successful projects in Ramadi and Fallujah, as well as Bartella and Bashiqa in the Ninewa Plains, we’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative impact that our housing rehabilitation work has had on communities,” he adds.

Priority for housing is given to the most vulnerable – female-headed households, households run by a minor, people living with a disability, and households where the breadwinner has not had employment in the last three years.

Essential elements such as rebuilding and plastering walls, securing windows and doors, undertaking electrical work and restoring sanitation are incorporated into the rehabilitation, plus additional items for people living with a disability, such as ramps and seated toilets.

Neighbourhoods were selected in consultation with the provincial government and Mayor’s office based on numbers of returnees and level of damage sustained. All housing repairs are agreed to by the homeowner and the local Muktar prior to commencement, and work is monitored by government-appointed committees.

Rehabilitation of the first group of houses will be complete by end of March. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by November 2019.

Approximately 800 stabilization projects have been completed or are underway by UNDP in Mosul, including restoring water and electricity networks, rebuilding educational institutions and healthcare facilities, and providing employment for locals to clear rubble from streets.

Photos of the West Mosul housing project are available here to download. Contact Fay Daoud on the details below if you would like to use any photos.

(Source: UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is rehabilitating 15,000 houses in West Mosul, bringing the total number of houses in its stabilization portfolio to more than 30,000 – the largest of its kind in Iraq.

The project in West Mosul covers 29 neighbourhoods that were hardest hit during the fight to liberate the city from the Islamic State, including the Old City where the militants declared their caliphate. It will enable 90,000 people to return home.

“This rehabilitation project is a critical step for families wanting to settle back into their homes in Mosul after three years of turmoil and hardship,” says Head of UNDP’s Stabilization programme, Dr. Mohammed siddig Mudawi.

“We know it works. Through our successful projects in Ramadi and Fallujah, as well as Bartella and Bashiqa in the Ninewa Plains, we’ve witnessed first-hand the transformative impact that our housing rehabilitation work has had on communities,” he adds.

Priority for housing is given to the most vulnerable – female-headed households, households run by a minor, people living with a disability, and households where the breadwinner has not had employment in the last three years.

Essential elements such as rebuilding and plastering walls, securing windows and doors, undertaking electrical work and restoring sanitation are incorporated into the rehabilitation, plus additional items for people living with a disability, such as ramps and seated toilets.

Neighbourhoods were selected in consultation with the provincial government and Mayor’s office based on numbers of returnees and level of damage sustained. All housing repairs are agreed to by the homeowner and the local Muktar prior to commencement, and work is monitored by government-appointed committees.

Rehabilitation of the first group of houses will be complete by end of March. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by November 2019.

Approximately 800 stabilization projects have been completed or are underway by UNDP in Mosul, including restoring water and electricity networks, rebuilding educational institutions and healthcare facilities, and providing employment for locals to clear rubble from streets.

Photos of the West Mosul housing project are available here to download. Contact Fay Daoud on the details below if you would like to use any photos.

(Source: UNDP)

From Al Jazeera. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In Iraq, reconstruction remains a daunting obstacle to displaced people returning home.

The government has allocated money and established commissions for people to file for assistance.

But there is little sign of that money being used for reconstruction after years of war that devastated the country.

Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim reports from Mosul:

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Conflict over Shiite and Sunni Endowments erupts in Mosul

The northern Iraqi city of Mosul is on guard about the possibility of an outbreak of sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites following allegations that the Shiite Waqf (religious endowment) is seeking to seize Sunni-held land in the area.

The head of the Iraqi Al-Qarar Coalition, Osama Najafi, said Jan. 30, “The Shiite endowment in Ninevah [province] is trying to register hundreds of property bonds belonging to the Sunni Waqf in its name, using its influence through official books issued by the General Real Estate Registration Directorate.”

Najafi said the Shiite endowment was also “pressuring and threatening staff in the real estate registration office in Mosul.”

Click here to read the full story.

Cultural Property Consultants (CPC) and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) have been awarded a $2 million grant to launch the Mosul Heritage Stabilization Program (MHSP).

MHSP seeks to assist Iraqis in the preservation and protection of cultural heritage by contributing to the maintenance and promotion of cultural memory, identity, diversity, and freedom of expression in an effort to mitigate the effects of genocide, cultural cleansing, and prolonged conflict in northern Iraq.

Funding for the 40-month project comes from a Department of State Cooperative Agreement, S-NEAAC-18-CA-0043, under the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and is a part of a larger $300 million USAID and Department of State initiative to support Iraqi communities after the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Richard L. Zettler is Project Director and an associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also associate curator-in-charge of Penn Museum’s Near East Section. Michael Danti serves as Project Manager and Allison Cuneo is Project Coordinator. Ali Jubbouri, former dean of the University of Mosul’s College of Archaeology, is the Iraq Team Coordinator. MHSP partners include Mosul University College of Engineering, Consultancy for Conservation and Development, and EAMENA.

(Sources: Cultural Property Consultants, University of Pennsylvania)

During December 2018 a total of 32 Iraqi civilians were killed and another 32 injured in acts of terrorism and conflict-related violence.

Ninewa was the worst affected Governorate with 26 civilian casualties (07 killed, 19 injured) followed by Baghdad with (17 killed and 03 injured) and Salahadin (03 killed and 03 injured). The figures include ordinary citizens and others considered civilian at the time of death or injury, such as police on non-combat functions, civil defence, personal security teams, facilities protection police and fire department personnel.

UNAMI views these figures as more than mere statistics. Every civilian death documented by UNAMI over the years represents a family grieving and struggling to come to terms with its loss. Each injury or maiming of a civilian represents immense individual and societal suffering,” Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said.

NOTE FOR INFORMATION:

UNAMI used to publish these casualty figures on a monthly basis as part of its broader efforts to highlight civilian protection needs, reduce civilian harm, and to encourage all parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. However, UNAMI’s monitoring in recent months has shown a steady reduction in civilian casualties. UNAMI has therefore decided that it will no longer publish these civilian casualty updates on a monthly basis but only if circumstances dictate. Whilst this decision is made in the context of a stabilizing security situation, and a consequent reduction in conflict-related harm to civilians, the conditions necessary for a sustained reduction in violence remain very fragile. UNAMI will, therefore, continue to monitor the situation.

*CAVEATS: UNAMI has been hindered in effectively verifying casualties in certain areas; in some cases, UNAMI could only partially verify certain incidents. For these reasons, the figures reported have to be considered as the absolute minimum. UNAMI was not able to verify casualty figures from Anbar Governorate and as a result they are not included.

(Source: United Nations)

Iraqi religious leaders have laid the cornerstone to rebuild Mosul’s landmark Al-Nouri Grand Mosque, which was blown up in the battle with Daesh terrorists in 2017.

The mosque and its iconic leaning minaret were built in the 12th century.

Iraqi forces defeated the terror group in the last of its urban strongholds last year, recapturing Mosul in a fierce battle that saw the Al-Nouri Mosque destroyed.

Dignitaries from the EU and the UN attended the ceremony in the mosque’s courtyard, where Abdulateef al-Humayim, head of Iraq’s Sunni endowments, led the proceedings on Sunday, AP reported.

The UAE donated $50.4 million to rebuild the mosque. Construction is expected to take five years.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)