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Cablegate: Tfiz01: Dart an Nasiriyah Trip Report 1 - 2 May

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 001849

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 AN NASIRIYAH TRIP REPORT 1 - 2 MAY


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

1. Between 1 and 2 May, the DART traveled to An Nasiriyah.
Accompanied by GOAL and IMC, the DART visited two hospitals
and local water and sewage treatment facilities. The DART
attended the CMOC briefing on 2 May, during which, local
leaders presented the town's most critical needs: food,
propane, hospital security, and medicines. End Summary.

------
HEALTH
------

2. The DART toured An Nasiriyah's Maternal and Pediatric
Hospital on 1 May. All patients had been discharged five to
six hours before the hospital was hit by a bomb. As a
result of the damage, 40 of the hospital's 300 beds are not
available, but the hospital is operational. The current
patient breakdown is 40 percent OB/GYN and 60 percent
pediatric. Most of the pediatric patients are suffering
from gastro-intestinal problems (water-borne diseases) and
upper respiratory infections. Prior to the war, the
hospital reportedly performed 3,000 surgical procedures per
month. Now between 200 and 400 surgeries are performed per
month. There are now 400 vaginal deliveries, 300 caesarian
sections, and 200 other gynecological surgeries per month.
Fewer than one third of the hospital's incubators are
functional.

3. Most of the hospital's staff has returned to work,
including eight OB/GYN physicians, eleven pediatricians,
five anesthesia personnel, eight nurse midwives, and 70
nurses. The hospital only has the capacity to provide
intermittent salaries to some of the staff. Potable water
is available by tanker and non-potable water though the
municipal water system. There are no laboratory culture
capabilities, and the pharmaceutical supplies are being
rapidly depleted. The hospital's main problems are poor
night-time security, only one anesthesia machine, a lack of
re-training for staff, and a lack of oxygen. Oxygen
(medical-grade by local standards) is available from a local
contractor at seven times the normal price. The
International Medical Corps (IMC) expects to have a master
list of all supplies needed in all three of An Nasiriyah's
hospitals by 5 May.

4. The DART also visited the Republic Hospital, which
mainly treated emergency, dialysis, and urology cases. The
100-bed hospital has been almost completely destroyed by a
combination of bomb damage and looting. Almost all of the
windows in the hospital were broken. However, according to
the hospital's director, the facility was in very poor
condition even before the war. There were four patients in
the hospital's two open wards during the DART's visit.
According to the hospital director, eight operations were
performed in the last week. The hospital has only two
respirators and no oxygen. Air has been used as a
substitute in the respirators for the past two weeks. The
hospital's laboratory closes at noon each day due to the
lack of staff. All three of the hemodialysis units were
looted, forcing the hospital to resort to peritoneal
dialysis. However, the hospital has only a very small
supply of the catheters necessary for the peritoneal
dialysis. The three looted hemodialysis units were the only
three in the entire governorate of 1.5 million people. The
hospital's infectious disease unit is inoperable as the door
for the isolation room was looted.

-------------------------
WATER AND SEWAGE TREAMENT
-------------------------

5. According to GOAL, An Nasiriyah's water and sewage
treatment plant would require only small interventions to
become operable. The staff is available and ready to work.
The DART visited the plant's administrative offices, where
all the doors, windows, and furniture were looted. The DART
also visited the sewage treatment facility, which is
operating at between 30 and 70 percent of capacity because
of a lack of maintenance and spare parts. Since before the
war, the facility has been relying on temporary pumps as
there are no parts to repair the permanent pumps. Due to
the use of the temporary pumps, the system is being bypassed
and wastewater is being released untreated.

6. The DART also visited the water treatment plant, where
only seven out of the fourteen pumps are operating. As a
result, the plant has no standby capacity. The plant has
less than one week's supply of chlorine left, according to
GOAL.

----
FUEL
----

7. On 1 May, GOAL reported that the supply of propane gas
is virtually non-existent in An Nasiriyah. On 23 April,
looters broke into the propane factory, manually opened the
valves, and filled bottles with propane, leaving a dangerous
residue of sulphur and vapor in the tanks. On 29 April, two
people were killed and two more seriously burned, when
looters attempted to break into the pipeline to fill bottles
manually.

8. GOAL is attempting to confirm whether the propane plant
in Basrah is operational and what capacity it has. If the
plant is operating, GOAL is considering organizing trucks
and bottles to go to Basrah in order to supply An Nasiriyah.
Prior to the war, An Nasiriyah's propane consumption level
was 11,000 bottles per day. GOAL believes that any propane
supplies to An Nasiriyah must consist of at least 5,000
bottles per day, to avoid civil unrest.

----------------------------------------
CIVIL MILITARY OPERATIONS CENTER MEETING
----------------------------------------

9. The DART attended the daily Civil Military Operations
Center (CMOC) briefing on 2 May. Several City Council
leaders told the DART that propane was needed desperately in
An Nasiriyah. Food was also named as a priority need; food
items such as milk and cheese are unavailable. However,
there are sufficient supplies of dry foods available.
Employees have gone three months without pay. According to
the city's hospital director, security is the hospital's
priority need. Medicines are also needed, and what drugs
are available are of a very low quality. Contact with other
centers is also difficult because of the lack of operational
communications equipment.

JONES

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