Ramadi, Iraq is just over 70 miles from Iraq’s capital and was once a bustling city—Iraq’s third largest. With the famed Euphrates River running through the middle of it, Ramadi has been a focal point of military strategy since World War I, when it became part of the Ottoman Empire. During the Iraq War, Ramadi was hotly contested and the city was plunged into chaos, with savage fighting between coalition forces and the loyal fanatics of al-Zarqawi.

After declaring “victory” in 2007, coalition forces withdrew from Ramadi in 2011 and al-Qaeda quickly resumed its attacks. Upon this withdrawal, a power vacuum developed with the Sunni-dominated Islamic State rising to control. After intense and violent fighting, within days, ISIS had “purged the entire city,” taking the 8th Brigade Army base that once housed American military units while the Iraqi Army hastily retreated, sacrificing the city to this fanatical insurgency once again.

With help from the U.S. and others, Iraq has retaken this important city once again, but the cost to this city has been enormous and it remains in a state of unimaginable ruin. Ramadi is still not quite fully liberated, as pockets of resistance by some 150-250 ISIS fighters remain. In addition, the streets are riddled with IEDs and mines, while the structures that still remain are pockmarked with bullet holes and shrapnel wounds. Though authorities have said that they have restored water service to nearly 80 percent of the city, more is needed for rebuilding, and the available funding amounts to a mere trickle compared to what is required.

The U.N. is currently seeking $400 million from the U.S. and its allies to cover the rebuilding efforts across the battle-scarred landscape of Iraq. Cities like Ramadi and Tikrit have been reduced to smoldering devastation during these heavy combat operations for their liberation.