UN Environment assessment visit to Kirkuk

On 26 March 2019, UN Environment and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq completed a rapid assessment of destroyed villages in Multaqa, Kirkuk, Iraq to better understand the nature and extent of damaged settlements.

The delegation was welcomed by the Head of Multaqa Sub-District, Hassan Abd Al-Naseef, who explained that 26 out of 36 villages comprising some 9,400 houses in his Sub-District were completely destroyed. Abd Al-Naseef pointed to the school he attended as a child, a landmark building in a verdant countryside with a red roof, which collapsed onto the classrooms. “It deeply saddens me that the next generation of children now has to take classes in a trailer, rather than in a school”.

In October 2017, the last vestiges of Kirkuk Governorate were liberated from ISIL. There is great concern over how to deal with the colossal volumes of debris created by the conflict some of which may be contaminated with unexploded ordinance, booby-traps and other hazardous materials, including asbestos and chemicals.

We are here to discuss with local authorities realistic options for debris removal that is appropriate for Kirkuk’s specific rural context. It is important to come up with cost-effective solutions that will help facilitate the return of displaced communities, and avoid unplanned debris disposal that can create serious health and environmental risks and burdensome economic liabilities in the future, said UN Environment Programme Manager, Hassan Partow, part of the visiting delegation.

Upon observing the level of destruction first-hand, Martijn Dalhuijsen, the liaison for UNAMI’s Development Coordination Office in Kirkuk, said that he looks forward to work with all key stakeholders, including the Government and NGOs, to plan an integrated debris removal management strategy.

Debris recovery planning processes have been initiated in Mosul (February 2018) and Ramadi (November 2018) which have included setting-up recycling centers thanks to technical advice from UN Environment in partnership the local Government, UNDP Stabilization Fund, IOM, UN-Habitat, universities and the Ministry of Health and Environment. We would like to replicate this best practice in Kirkuk and convene a technical workshop on Debris Management with the help of UNEP, Kirkuk University, the Government of Kirkuk, the authorities in Affected Areas, UNMAS and UNAMI.

Photo Album

Text: Mr. Martijn Dalhuijsen, Liaison Officer, Development Coordination Office, UNAMI
Photos: UNAMI PIO/Harith Al-Obeidi

Last modified on Sunday, 31 March 2019 09:48

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