With their city largely destroyed by two US military assaults, residents of Fallujah continue to suffer.Fallujah, Iraq – Fallujah still bears the scars of war; skeletons continue to be pulled from the rubble of bombed buildings, and, worse, rates of birth defects and childhood malformations have skyrocketed.
There is evidence of reconstruction, but shortages of electricity and clean water remain prevalent. The overall mood in the city is one of anger, hopelessness, and fear.
In April and November of 2004, the United States military launched two massive military sieges against the city of Fallujah, located 60km west of Baghdad, due to on-going resistance there against the occupation.
Doctors at Fallujah General Hospital told Al Jazeera in 2004 that 736 Iraqis had been killed during the April siege. They said approximately 60 per cent of the victims were women, children, and elderly, and told of medical personnel being fired on by US forces while trying to evacuate the wounded.
By the end of nearly three weeks of heavy bombings and a ground invasion in the November siege, more than 1,000 Iraqis were killed, according to Fallujah doctors.
‘Everything here is bad’
Most of the residents of the city of 300,000 had been displaced from their homes at that time, and while most have returned, thousands remain homeless, unemployed, and struggle to rebuild their lives.
It is estimated that 70 per cent of the buildings and homes in Fallujah were damaged or destroyed, along with at least 100 mosques, 6,000 shops, and nine government offices.