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Cablegate: Tfiz01: Dart Umm Qasr Trip Report 9 April 2003

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KUWAIT 001361

SIPDIS

STATE ALSO PASS USAID/W
STATE PLEASE REPEAT TO IO COLLECTIVE
STATE FOR PRM/ANE, EUR/SE, NEA/NGA, IO AND SA/PAB
NSC FOR EABRAMS, SMCCORMICK, STAHIR-KHELI, JDWORKEN
USAID FOR USAID/A, DCHA/AA, DCHA/RMT, DCHA/FFP
USAID FOR DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, ANE/AA
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA:WGARVELINK, BMCCONNELL, KFARNSWORTH
USAID FOR ANE/AA:WCHAMBERLIN
ROME FOR FODAG
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH
DOHA FOR MSHIRLEY
ANKARA FOR AMB WRPEARSON, ECON AJSIROTIC AND DART
AMMAN FOR USAID AND DART

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ WFP
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: DART UMM QASR TRIP REPORT 9 APRIL 2003

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. On 5 April, the DART made a third assessment trip to Umm
Qasr. The DART joined up with two members positioned in Umm
Qasr and met Coalition force representatives and five
community leaders, who have assumed the role of the civilian
leadership of the town following the departure of most Baath
party officials. END SUMMARY.

--------
SECURITY
--------

2. Although less looting is reported, Coalition forces are
concerned about the security of port facilities. According
to Coalition forces, the port's basic infrastructure is
sound, but it has not received proper maintenance for years.
Coalition forces stressed that maintenance would be a key
factor in any plans to re-establish proper port management.
If there is not currently a maintenance component in the
Stevedore Services of America's current contract with USAID,
it is suggested that the contract be revisited to include
such a component.

3. Concerns were expressed about the stability of Umm Qasr
once Coalition forces begin to move out. There is a great
need for police enforcement and patrolling. Concerning
potential reprisals against Baathist party members,
Coalition forces stated that the best they can do is to
mitigate retribution as Coalition forces lack a police force
as well as adequate capacity and resources.

-------------
CIVIL AFFAIRS
-------------

4. Coalition forces are very concerned that international
organizations (IOs) and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) will bypass Umm Qasr because they do not see a
widespread need for humanitarian assistance. If this
occurs, the Coalition forces feel that they will be expected
to assume this role, but caution that they lack the capacity
to fill this vacuum. Coalition forces are eager to hand
over humanitarian assistance such as water distribution to
appropriate U.N. agencies, IOs, or NGOs.

-----
WATER
-----

5. The water distribution continues to be an issue of
concern in Umm Qasr. While the Coalition forces intended
that water would be provided free of charge to the local
population, a system was not put in place to monitor the
water truck drivers. On 5 April, Coalition forces announced
that they will pay the drivers and ensure that water will be
free of charge. As 7 April, 26 private trucks were
providing water to Umm Qasr. However, while 14 drivers are
providing water in town at no cost, 12 are selling it in
outlying villages. Coalition forces do not have the staff
to monitor the distributions and have requested UNICEF or
another organization assume this role. Civil Affairs
representatives also requested that the DART assist with
water and food coordination.
----
FOOD
----

6. Community leaders who met with the DART stated that
there were 45 food agents in Umm Qasr. The majority were
shop owners and old women. There are currently 33 agents
who are willing to restart food distribution. The remaining
12 are either too afraid to come forward or are in Basrah.
The leaders showed the DART a list with the names of food
agents and beneficiaries. The DART will facilitate a
meeting with the World Food Program to re-organize the food
distribution network. Community leaders have contacted
these agents and say that they will also be able to absorb
the distribution previously handled by agents that have
fled.

7. The DART asked if it would be possible to identify the
internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Basrah presently
living in Umm Qasr. The community leaders pulled out a list
and replied that they had already taken the initiative to
identify the IDPs from Basrah and they had come with their
ration cards. . The DART suggested that the food
distribution be prioritized for the most vulnerable and that
dairy, meat, and vegetables could be added to the first
distribution. Coalition forces have offered to facilitate
the movement of the commodities from the warehouse for
distribution.


8. Umm Qasr residents have expressed frustration over the
numerous assessment trips by international organizations,
without tangible results. The residents repeatedly
expressed the need for foods rich in protein, such as meat,
eggs, and dairy products as well as the need for propane gas
for cooking.

-----------
ELECTRICITY
-----------

9. Coalition forces have once again repaired and restored
electricity to three-quarters of the town. The electricity
plant was recently sabotaged by six persons; one is in
custody. While the electricity to the town is functioning,
the system has become more vulnerable due to the sabotage.

MAPPING
-------

10. The community leaders mapped off the principal housing
and commercial sections of Umm Qasr. In total, the town is
comprised of 82 streets; each street has 72 houses. Up to
three to four families live in each house. The North
Section is the North Indian Camp ("Hindi Court"). It
consists of 37 streets and has 6,600 inhabitants. To the
west of this is the South Indian Camp. People living in
South Indian Camp worked at the Port and were forcibly
relocated by the regime from their homes near the port to
this area. Houses around the Customs Office are associated
with the Ministry of Industry. Resident of this sector
worked at the pipe, steel, and cement factories.

----------
EMPLOYMENT
----------

11. According to community leaders, the lack of employment
and income are critical problems in Umm Qasr. Nearly
everyone worked for the government and the last salary
received was prior to the start of the war. In addition,
residents have spent all their money to prepare for the war
and in fear that the money would be worthless once the
regime changed. It is especially urgent that the port
begins to function since 10,000 people were previously
employed there. The leaders stated that the quick
development of jobs will be crucial to keep stability in Umm
Qasr.

-----------------------
VULNERABILITY/REPRISALS
-----------------------

12. Community leaders reported that a few nights before the
meeting with the DART, a mob of over 1,000 people torched
the house of a Baathist member in North Indian Camp, and
attempted to burn other Baathist houses. However, one of the
community leaders prevented further reprisals by telling the
mob, "We've had many rivers of blood and destruction. We
should let bygones be bygones and rebuild our country." The
leaders expressed concern that great physical destruction
will take place on 14 April, the Shi'a Day of Martyrdom.

------------
TOWN COUNCIL
------------

13. Community leaders have identified a building located
near the police station that could be used for office
premises. It is a bare shell and would require
rehabilitation and equipment. Capacity building and
training in forming a town council, democracy, and elections
was requested by the community leaders. They also expressed
interest in media messaging (print, radio, television) in
order to promote a climate of reconciliation and to prevent
lawlessness, looting, and reprisals. Community leaders
offered to organize a volunteer police corps.

JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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