The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Washington File

05 June 2003

Humanitarian and Reconstruction Activities Progressing in Iraq

(USAID Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance Fact Sheet #45) (1960)
Following is the text of a June 2 update on the current humanitarian
situation in Iraq, published by the U.S. Agency for International
Development. The full text is available in *.pdf format at
(begin fact sheet)
Iraq - Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance Fact Sheet #45
June 2, 2003
Current Humanitarian Situation (updated biweekly) Regional Updates
Baghdad and Central Iraq
-- According to the Coalition Joint Task Force (CJTF), the Khadimiya
(Central Sector) Garbage Department Fleet is coordinating garbage
collection requirements for central Baghdad. As of June 7, a garbage
truck curfew will be imposed from 1600 to 0600 hours every day to
allow normal garbage collection to proceed from 0700 to 1500 hours
daily with sufficient time for drivers to arrive and depart from work.
Drivers are authorized to take garbage trucks to their residences in
order to secure the vehicle, as long as they abide by the curfew.
-- Of the 36 communications facilities in Baghdad, 16 are damaged and
11 of those are critical to establishing ground communications.
USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) is funding
repairs to four of these facilities, including a studio and radio
Southern Iraq
-- On May 29, members of the USG Disaster Assistance Response Team
(DART) assessed the Al Basrah Public Health Laboratory, which is one
of two major laboratories in Iraq, the other being in Baghdad. The
facility served the entire southern Iraq region, and performed complex
laboratory testing on blood, urine, stool, tissue, and cultured
pathogens from sputum, stool, and blood. The site also included a
dispensary and a clinic distributing public health information. The
laboratory was systematically looted and is no longer operational.
There is no mechanism in Al Basrah to test for cholera, HIV,
hepatitis, or other standard tests. With poor water quality in Al
Basrah, there remains concern for a summer cholera or hepatitis
outbreak, and obtaining test results from Kuwaiti laboratories slows
the response time.
-- According to the Kuwait Humanitarian Operations Center (HOC),
implementation of Kuwaiti-donated reverse osmosis desalinization units
may be possible utilizing feed water from well water sources or
surface water sources with additional pre-treatment. At a meeting on
May 31, UNICEF agreed to fund well drilling associated with this
implementation and to provide sand filtration compact units for the
pre-treatment of potential surface feed water sources with elevated
levels of turbidity.
Umm Qasr
-- The M/V Thor Sky arrived in Umm Qasr Port during the evening of May
30, loaded with 14,000 metric tons (MT) of bagged rice. In the first
48 hours, 7,918 MT of the bagged rice was offloaded onto trucks. A
private trucking company from An Nasiriyah is distributing the rice to
Wasit, Al Muthanna, Maysan, Karbala, and An Najaf Governorates.
-- The M/V Sea Express, carrying 9,527 MT of bulk wheat arrived in Umm
Qasr on May 31. Port workers using two mobile vacuvators have
discharged a total of 4,378 MT of the bulk wheat into trucks.
-- The M/V Nanking is due to arrive in Umm Qasr on June 2 with 10,000
MT of wheat flour, and the M/V Orbit will berth either on June 2 or
June 3 with 15,000 MT of wheat flour. The M/V Thor Sky, M/V Nanking,
and M/V Orbit are each carrying commodities purchased with funding
from USAID given to the World Food Program (WFP).
-- USAID/OTI formally handed over three projects in Umm Qasr to the
transitional Town Council on May 29. The three USAID/OTI grants,
selected based on a list of priorities developed by community
residents, were for a new town council building, a new community
communication center, and youth sports facilities and equipment. These
projects mark the first time there has been public access to the
Internet in Umm Qasr, and the first time in decades that there have
been administrative offices for a locally selected government. Through
UDAID/OTI funding, the Town Council has provided a new pre-fabricated
administration building. The community communication center project
has supplied new computers with broadband Internet access and
technical assistance, and the youth sports project includes a new
cement basketball/volleyball court, restoration of a soccer field, and
balls and nets for soccer, volleyball, and basketball.
Sector Updates
Abuse Prevention
-- On May 30, the Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority (OCPA)
made public a comprehensive policy on dealing with mass graves that
had been developed with the input of the DART's Abuse Prevention Unit,
among others. The policy allows, inter alia, for forensics
specialists, identification of remains, and work with civil society.
Sites will be safeguarded using local resources rather than relying on
Coalition forces.
-- The Kuwait HOC continues to reduce in size as it transitions work
to the Iraq Assistance Center in July. The Government of Kuwait said
the HOC will continue to function. All Coalition military will be
reassigned by July 1.
-- According to WFP, on June 1, the MOT began distributing food
brought into Iraq by WFP to assist nearly 27 million Iraqi nationwide.
An estimated 44,000 distribution agents are involved in this effort,
and so far, WFP has transported approximately 440,000 MT of
commodities into Iraq to assist vulnerable populations.
-- The MOT in Baghdad asked its food agents in all 18 governorates to
begin collecting the June wheat flour and other foodstuff rations from
MOT distribution centers on June 1. Due to shortages of milk powder,
salt, and weaning cereal, these items will not be provided in June.
The pulse ration was lowered from 0.5 kg per beneficiary to 0.25 kg,
and the vegetable oil ration from 1.25 kg to 1 kg. An infant's ration
is eight cans of infant formula (3.6 kg); detergent (0.5 kg); and one
bar of soap. The MOT announced that the overall cost for a single
person and single infant ration is 250 Iraqi dinars ($0.25 - $0.33)
-- The MOT has begun publicizing the ration list for the June
distribution. The notice also informs families that have either lost
or never had their ration cards of where to apply to receive this
month's supply.
-- WFP will be printing and distributing new ration cards that are to
be used from August to December.
Current Reconstruction Situation (updated biweekly)
Regional Updates
Umm Qasr
-- The port is dredged to a depth of 9 meters and work continues with
a depth goal of 11.5 meters overall and 13.5 meters alongside the
grain pier. Dredging, the removal of unexploded ordnance and sunken
vessels continues, along with power repair work on the port's
generators. The goal is for a portion of the port to be open by June
15 in order to accommodate bulk shipment vessels.
Sector Updates
-- Iraqi school enrollment is increasing and final examination plans
are in review, and targeted for the end of June.
-- Over the weekend, electricity generation reached the highest level
since the conflict: 3,180 megawatts (MW). This is an increase of 15
percent country-wide from ten days ago. Most of the increased
generation targeted Baghdad, which consumed 1200 MW, a 70 percent
increase from ten days ago.
-- Bechtel, USAID's private sector partner, continues to work with
Iraqi and military officials to cope with the looting of power lines
and transformers, which remains a concern for security and project
U.S. Government Response
Emergency Relief
-- USAID/Office of Foreign Disaster Assis tance (OFDA) is supporting
U.N. and NGO emergency assistance activities through quick-impact
projects and internally displaced persons (IDP) support. USAID/OFDA
supports projects in the sectors of agriculture, food security,
health, logistics, nutrition, shelter, and water and sanitation.
-- USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) is providing emergency
food commodities through the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT)
and P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance to WFP for
distribution to food insecure Iraqis. WFP also received a cash
contribution from USAID/FFP for the purchase of commodities in the
-- USAID/OTI is supporting the implementation of the Iraq Transition
Initiative (ITI). The ITI program supports the process of political
stabilization and community recovery in post-conflict Iraq by
providing small grants designed to build confidence among Iraq's
diverse ethnic groups, increase citizen participation in
decision-making, and rapidly respond to community needs, while
establishing and building trust for long term reconstruction efforts.
The ITI program is implemented through Development Alternatives
Incorporated (DAI) and the International Organization for Migration
(IOM). In addition, USAID/OTI works with the Broadcasting Board of
Governors to enhance the capacity of Radio SAWA to broadcast
humanitarian and reconstruction reporting.
-- The Department of State's Bureau for Population, Refugees, and
Migration (State/PRM) contributed assistance for the pre-positioning
and emergency response activities of the U.N. High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),
the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
-- On June 1, the DART donated 20 World Health Organization emergency
health kits to the 24 health clinics in the Al Rashid district of
Baghdad. The contents of the kits will be divided among the clinics
based upon individual requirements for essential medical supplies, and
will relieve some of the patient caseloads from Baghdad hospitals.
-- In addition to the emergency relief assistance provided through the
DART by USAID and the Department of State, USAID's Asia and Near East
Bureau (USAID/ANE) has provided assistance for reconstruction
activities in Iraq in a broad range of sectors. USAID supports
reconstruction projects in education, governance, health,
infrastructure, and logistics.
-- Bechtel signed its first subcontract with an Iraqi company, the
Al-Bunnia Trading Company. The scope of work is to design and
construct a bridge bypass of about 1.5 km in length for a critical
highway in the western part of the country. The Al Mat Bridge is
located 300 km west of Baghdad and 180 km from the Jordanian border
and is declared unsafe, although traffic is still moving across the
damaged bridge. The bypass being constructed is a compacted dirt
bypass with a bitumen surface (oil). Work began May 29 and should be
completed in 14 days. Rebuilding the damaged bridge will take up to
eight months.
--Since 1991, the Iraqi population has subsisted on the brink of a
humanitarian disaster due to the lingering effects of war, sanctions,
and drought. Between 1991 and 1996, the U.S. Government provided
nearly $794 million in humanitarian assistance to internally displaced
persons in northern Iraq.
--In 1996, the Government of Iraq accepted the U.N. Oil-for-Food
Program (OFF), after which humanitarian conditions improved. Revenues
from the OFF program provided food, medicine, and other civilian goods
to assist vulnerable Iraqis through the Public Distribution System.
However, widespread corruption by Iraqi officials limited the
effectiveness of the OFF program.
-- On March 20, 2003, Coalition forces began military operations in
Iraq. On May 1, 2003, 42 days after the conflict began, U.S. President
George W. Bush announced that combat operations in Iraq have ended.
Although the recent conflict did not result in the large-scale
humanitarian crisis and widespread displacement many had envisioned,
the conflict and subsequent disorder has exacerbated the Iraqi
population's vulnerable circumstances.
-- In March 2003, the United States Government deployed a multi-agency
Disaster Assistance Response Team to the region to assess and respond
to humanitarian needs and to help coordinate the emergency relief
effort. In Iraq, the DART has established offices in Al Basrah, Arbil,
Baghdad, and Al Hillah. In addition, DART members are located in
Kuwait and Cyprus, and are working closely with U.N. agencies, NGOs,
and in coordination with U.S. Military Civil Affairs personnel.
(end fact sheet)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

Join the mailing list