Less than 24 hours after the Siddiq neighborhood of Mosul, adjacent to Mosul university, was retaken by coalition forces, HERA was on the ground delivering 3,600 packs of water to thousands of families.
Before ISIS leaves a community, they have started destroying water pumps, generators, and pipes that supply residents with clean water. Unable to flee, civilians in recently retaken communities are forced to drink contaminated water sources with sewage, chemicals, and more. This leaves families--especially those with young children and elderly family members--at great risk of disease and death.
While heavy fighting was occurring just a few blocks away, HERA was able to enter the recently re-taken neighborhood of Siddiq, next to Mosul University to distribute water. The team loaded 9 trucks and transported the water from our warehouse on the Mosul outskirts into the city.
The journey to Siddiq passed the HERA team through multiple demilitarized zones. These areas were recently cleared of ISIS fighters, but lack any military presence. In most cases, fighting was just blocks away.
While water was being handed out, the sounds of small arms fire, artillery, and airstrikes were never far away. The residents seemed undisturbed, however, waiting in line for water without flinching. As the day wore on, many children came out to play around the trucks, sensing some resemblance of safety. These children stayed all day, only returning to their homes as we pulled away.
There is much work still to be done in Mosul and--unfortunately--these 3,600 cases of water were only a drop in the bucket of needs.