Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Sunday, August 17, 2003
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Water Situation In Iraq Growing Worse

The BBC is reporting that in addition to sabotage of the Iraqi oil pipeline, the water supply is also a target:

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...

That's 300,000 liberated people who could be our allies, and are slowly but surely being turned against our occupation. One source of the problem according to an interim Iraqi government official: "There is a void in security". Again, poor planning is our bane and the window of opportunity continues to shrink. The BBC also notes that "[s]abotage is suspected in a fire at a sewage treatment plant in the south." This is troubling because there have already been problems with water treatment, and it's causing more and more disease, according to ReliefWeb:

"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.

Five years before people of Baghdad have enough clean water? The Iraqis are in trouble. So are we.


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