In Baghdad, engineers warned it would take eight hours to repair the breached water pipeline that flooded main roads in the city.
The International Red Cross said some 300,000 residents were without water and warned of people's increasing impatience with the lack of reliable basic services.
Officials say the water pipeline was sabotaged...
"None of the main sewage-treatment plants within Baghdad are working, but most of the main pumping stations are working," Peter Sherlock, the UN coordinator for water and sanitation, told IRIN. "This means that the sewage is being pumped through the system, but that it's basically bypassing the treatment plants and going straight into the river."
For Iraq's most vulnerable populations, especially its children, the consequences can be devastating. "Because of the lack of access to clean water, we've already seen a doubling of diarrhoeal diseases compared to this time last year: these could be typhoid, dysentery, cholera or just diarrhoea," said UNICEF's Geoffrey Keele. "The worrying thing about this is that 70 percent of all children's ailments are linked to contaminated water."
Rehabilitation work is under way at water treatment plants, and tankers go daily to an increasing number of locations in the city. But Sherlock believes it could be five years before the country's water system is running efficiently again.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.