Related photos
of 1
Reference : V-P-IQ-E-02452
Date : 25/11/2021
Country/Region : IRAQ
Caption : Mosul, Old City. This child's only source of income is collecting and reselling metals from the city's rubble. A white flag on a pile of ruins means that the area is cleared of mines. With his friends, he sometimes collects resalable coins in areas that are not cleared.
Photographer : KHALAF, Mike Mustafa
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website, article 13.12.2021:
"Iraq: Life in Mosul through a child’s eyes
Four years after the violence ended, the once burgeoning city of Mosul still bears the scars of the fighting, with deserted neighbourhoods and ruins as far as the eye can see. The old city on the west bank of the Tigris river, known as the jewel of Mosul, still lies in ruins. Children play in the rubble or look for items to resell at the market.

Eight-year-old Yasin plays in the ruins of what used to be a mosque in the old city of Mosul. Despite the notices warning of unexploded ordnance, the boy and his friends play fearlessly in this desolate environment.

The children look for the white flags marking the buildings that have been cleared of mines. Then they start digging in the piles of rubble, on the hunt for anything of value that can be resold. As a main source of income, this activity means they also venture into non-cleared areas.

"There are some dangerous places here that we are not allowed to play in because of mines," says Yaqeen, age 11. She lives in Mosul's old city and remembers a time before the war. "Before the conflict, we had a shop here and I had friends," she says. "We used to go out and play."

Many of Mosul's former residents have not returned because of the hidden unexploded ordnance. Grenades, bombs and rockets lie in wait for the innocent. All it takes is one false move for lives to be changed forever.

Thousands of people who fled the fighting are unable or unwilling to come back. Without the huge investment needed to rebuild the city, business opportunities are rare. Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, lies close to Turkey and Syria and was once one of the most important cities on the Middle East trade route. Despite the fact that some basic infrastructure, such as sewers and roads, has been repaired, much more needs to be done, particularly in terms of homes and health care.

The situation is bleak and it is a challenge to survive in this inhospitable environment, but some families have returned. Others never left and endured the terrible consequences of war.
Humanitarian aid will not be enough: residents face chronic water and electricity shortages. A recent study by the ICRC found that fewer than 15 per cent of people on Mosul's left bank – the eastern half of the city – currently have enough water to meet their daily needs. On the right bank, this number was higher but still only 35 per cent. This is partly because the war destroyed vital infrastructure, such as water pumping stations.

The conflict may have ended, but people's needs in Mosul – and the wider Ninawa governorate – are still huge. The extent of the damage means that humanitarian aid alone will not be enough. Mosul will require continued national and international investment to repair its deeply damaged infrastructure and to ensure communities have access to basic services like shelter, water, electricity and health care."
Resolution : 6000x4000
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : black and white