Some images from my visit to Kobanê, Rojava, Syria. It was striking that every building still standing, and there weren’t many of those left, was riddled by bullet holes, attesting to the YPG-YPJ’s attempt to fight for every single house and building, every brick and every street of Kobanê.
The level of destruction as a result of ISIS attacks is unbelievable. International experts have estimated that over 80% of the city is completely destroyed. Most essential infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, water and electricity has sustained severe damages. Most of Kobanê survives currently on generators, which are large, ugly, noisy and expensive contraptions that only run for certain hours of the day and consume large amounts of fuel- which is hard to get by as it is. Water is from wells that have been dug, lacking appropriate purification methods and rationed. Each house has its own water tank which means that the water is kept in large tanks, usually on rooftops, where the searing sun often heats up the water making it barely drinkable. We had to run the water for 2-3 minutes just so we would not burn our hands before washing up. There is no sewage system.
One of the biggest problems at the moment is the large number of mines and unexploded devices and home made booby traps that ISIS left behind after it had its ass kicked by the YPG-YPJ forces and allies. Over 60 people, many of whom being women and children, have lost their lives as a result of these mines already causing further trauma to the community. There are several international NGOs who are clearing the mines currently but this is slow work, which makes normalization extremely difficult. Despite this thousands are still returning t
o Kobanê every day. It is not unusual to see families in barely habitable destroyed buildings and structures, which a serious safety issue for already traumatized returnees (see the first picture).
The YPG-YPJ fought for every inch of this historical city, and now we must provide it with the support to help it to live again. In the words of the foreign minister, Idris Nissan, “to rebuild Kobane is the greatest form of resistance against terrorism”.
If you are interested in learning more or providing support and help please visit the official site of The Kobane Reconstruction Board on www.helpkobane.com, where you can donate as well.
A firefund campaign has also been set up to help raise funds for various reconstruction projects that international NGOs are currently undertaking. You can find the link here: www.firefund.net