Iraq has issued an urgent appeal for billions of dollars of international aid to rebuild areas devastated by a 3-year battle with the Islamic State terrorist group. The government appeal was made during an international aid conference that opened in Kuwait yesterday. Officials from more than 70 countries and international organizations are taking part in the 3-day meeting. Iraq’s Planning Minister Salman al-Jumaili said, the country needs 88.2 billion dollars for reconstruction. His ministry says a quarter of the amount is urgently required, in order to quickly build housing for 2.5 million people displaced by fierce fighting.

The Iraqi government declared victory over the Islamic State group in December after recapturing the northern city of Mosul and other areas from the extremists. In addition to requesting international support, Iraq is also seeking private-sector investments. The government announced 157 projects in January, including airport repairs and oil development, while calling on companies around the world to invest.