Mosul: Australian working to help civilians return after Iraqi victory over Islamic State

Mosul: Australian working to help civilians return after Iraqi victory over Islamic State

Mosul: Australian working to help civilians return after Iraqi victory over Islamic State

Updated 30 July 2017, 6:20 AEST

Australian-born Melany Markham has just visited the war-ravaged Iraqi city of Mosul as part of efforts to help civilians who have lost everything and are now returning home to start again.

Australian-born Melany Markham from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has just visited the war-ravaged Iraqi city of Mosul, which was liberated earlier this month.

"I heard many harrowing stories, with one man with six daughters telling me he had just managed to flee the day before their home was flattened from bombing during the conflict with the Islamic State group," she said.

"He was in tears because he has six children to support and he was so worried about the future."

The NRC, along with many other aid agencies including Iraqi ones, is now trying to help civilians returning to the ravaged city.

"I was there with my organisation distributing cash to those who had lost everything," Ms Markham said.

"We have been trying to reconstruct a water pipe for the last three months but security issues still keep affecting our efforts.

"A million people have fled from West Mosul. We think the displacement could last months, if not years.

"Since February, the NRC has been distributing building supplies to people to help them rebuild their homes."

Australia assists warzone with $110 million

The United Nations estimates it will cost $US1 billion ($1.25 billion) to restore infrastructure in Mosul.

Earlier this year, the Australian Government issued a statement which said special funding would be allocated to Mosul.

"In recognition of the ongoing situation in Iraq, on 25 April 2017 the Prime Minister announced that Australia would contribute a further $110 million through international organisations for continued humanitarian assistance and increased stabilisation support in Iraq," the Department of Foreign Affairs statement read.

"This $110 million will bring Australia's humanitarian assistance to Iraq to more than $180 million since 2014. The long-term stability of a post war Iraq relies upon reconciliation.

"The new funding includes $10 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs arising from the Mosul operation."

International community should commit to recovery

Ms Markham said rebuilding must be inclusive of all faiths in Mosul, especially following the sectarian violence during the conflict.

"The conflict has created a lot of division. It has pitched Muslims against Christians, Muslims against Muslims," she said.

"The best thing we can do now is ensure the rebuilding process is inclusive so everyone is treated fairly, everyone is included in that process and that really is the best hope for stopping the conflict and ensuring long term peace and security in Iraq.

"We need to stay around, and continue that unconditional support to all the groups in Iraq affected by this conflict. We have had a lot of support for our work here from all levels of Government.

"Terrorism has its roots in discontent so it's really the job of all of us, the international community and the Iraqis, to help by treating everyone equally and fairly, and committing the resources to the recovery."