Mosul’s Al Qasoor Water Treatment Plant is on the eastern bank of the Tigris River which bisects the city that was, until about six months ago, one of the last strongholds of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Level (ISIL).
The water treatment facility – which looks from the air like two dark-green turn tables – today holds about 12,000 cubic metres of fresh water pumping to 300,000 people in 24 neighbourhoods; but shortly after ISIL fell, no one wanted to go near the site for fear that it was riddled with explosives.
“The explosive contamination [in Iraq] is very extensive. It is on an industrial scale,” Pehr Lodhammar, Senior Programme Manager for United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), told UN News by phone from Iraq. “I’ve worked in 14 countries, I’ve worked with this my whole life, but I’ve never seen the complexity or the variety.”
He described improvised explosive devices combined with the ammunition that has been fired but failed to detonate.