Cablegate: Tfiz01: Dart Assessment of Al Anbar
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KUWAIT 001851
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 ASSESSMENT OF AL ANBAR
1. Between 26 and 29 April, DART Field Team West traveled
more than 1,400 km inside Iraq conducting an assessment of
communities in the western governorate of Al Anbar. The
DART conducted assessments in Ar Rutbah, Hadithah, Anah, and
Heet. The DART also stopped in Baghdad to talk with some
community members. Due to security concerns, the DART was
unable to assess either Ar Ramadi, the governorate's largest
population center, or the community of Al Qa'im, on the
2. In general, the DART found conditions in the communities
assessed to be near pre-war levels in the areas of water and
sanitation, food, and health. The exception remains Ar
Rutbah, although problems there could be addressed for the
immediate term with a few targeted interventions. The DART
has already begun working with cooperative agreement
partners to design appropriate interventions. End Summary.
3. With the exception of Ar Rutbah, health facilities in
communities assessed were functioning close to pre-war
levels. Staff have returned to work (in some cases never
leaving), facilities were undamaged and protected from
looting by the communities, and supplies of emergency
medical supplies are sufficient for the near-term. These
facilities will require re-supply within the coming 30 days.
4. Ar Rutbah is the exception to this. The hospital in Ar
Rutbah was destroyed by Coalition bombing. Health services
are now being offered in the town's primary health clinic,
but this space is inadequate to provide the level of service
previously offered in this remote region's only hospital.
The DART is working with World Vision International to
design a short-term intervention to address this need.
5. The DART found that the public distribution system (PDS)
is functioning and wakils (PDS agents) are present and
working in all communities assessed. All wakils had their
beneficiary lists intact. Food stocks are considered
adequate, and in some towns food deliveries from Ar Ramadi
and ration distributions have resumed. Markets were open in
all towns visited. Vegetables, meats, and starches are
generally available. The DART visited one flour mill that
is fully operational. The mill manager informed team that
all four mills in Al Anbar are operating at pre-war levels.
WATER AND SANITATION
6. With the exception of Ar Rutbah, water and sewage
service in all communities assessed has returned to pre-war
levels. Even in Ar Rutbah, where most residents rely on
septic tanks, sewage services have returned to pre-war
7. In Ar Rutbah, normal water-in-house service has yet to
be restored. Water is being tankered to residences from
deep water wells approximately 15 kilometers (KM) from town.
This water is not being treated prior to distribution.
Again, immediate emergency needs in water could be addressed
in the short-term by a few targeted interventions. The DART
has begun discussions with CARE to potentially design an
intervention to address immediate water needs.
8. One of the primary concerns of residents in Al Anbar
remains security. In fact, the lack of security prevented
the DART from visiting Al Qa'im and Ar Ramadi. DART
departed the village of Anah before completing its
assessment due to security concerns.
9. Police have resumed work in all of the towns assessed;
however, their presence is low and their ability to maintain
law and order appears minimal. Local residents reported
that they continue to feel unsafe. Things appear more
stable where there is a Coalition presence such as in Ar
Rutbah and Hadithah. The DART also found that many
interviewees remained uncomfortable in talking to the team.
10. Telephone service remains inoperable in most areas of
Al Anbar. Some towns (Hadithah and Anah) have local phone
service, but they cannot make calls to neighboring
communities. Officials from local governorate services such
as health and school officials have not been in contact with
the governorate's administrative headquarters in Ar Ramadi.
Schools have not re-opened despite a local willingness due
in part to the lack of instruction from national or
governorate level officials. Health officials are unable to
communicate with Ar Ramadi. When they refer patients to Ar
Ramadi for treatment, they must give instruction to
ambulance drivers as they cannot speak directly to Ar Ramadi
health officials. They also have no idea when their supply
chain will resume, or if things will continue to function as
they did in the past.
11. The lack of communication is also a concern to people
that are unsure of the well-being of family members in other
parts of the country. Some are looking for relatives who
were in the military, and are unaware of the status of their
loved ones. Others are simply hoping to make contact with
family members in other parts of the country.
12. Western Iraq is served by a well-maintained road
network. Highway 10 leading from the Jordanian border to
Baghdad is a six-lane divided highway. Highway 12 leading
northwest from near Ar Ramadi toward the Syrian border is a
two-lane highway that is in good condition.
13. Coalition bombing destroyed some of the bridges on
Highway 12. Detours have been cleared and all forms of
vehicles are currently able to transit this corridor.
14. Coalition bombing also partially destroyed one bridge
and one over-pass on Highway 10. The bridge (near Rutbah)
has been reduced to one-lane traffic. No by-pass has been
developed. This will become a significant problem as
traffic, including the flow of oil tankers to Jordan and
humanitarian relief (in particular the World Food Program),
increases. The destroyed over-pass has rendered the
eastbound lanes of Highway 10 impassable. No detour has
been developed and the intermediate solution is two-way
traffic on the normal westbound lanes for a couple of
15. The presence of unexploded ordnance (UXO) is a
significant problem in two of the communities that the DART
visited. Hadithah was the site of a large Iraqi military
base, and was the scene of a major battle between Coalition
and Iraqi forces. As a result, the area is strewn with
UXOs, weapons, and other military equipment. Coalition
forces in the area have been active in locating and
destroying UXOs, weapons, and equipment. Nevertheless, this
remains a problem that will exist for some time. As of 28
April, four people had been injured as a result of UXOs in
16. Ar Rutbah has a similar problem. The Iraqi military
abandoned stocks of UXOs, and Coalition military action left
more UXOs scattered about the town. The current Coalition
presence is not equipped to address the UXO problem in Ar
Rutbah. To date, 12 individuals have been seriously injured
in incidents involving UXOs in the town. U.N. Mine Action
Service has visited Ar Rutbah and has plans to return. In
addition, the Coalition forces present in Ar Rutbah have
requested an ordnance disposal team, but there is no firm
date for the arrival of such a team. Team West is working
with World Vision to incorporate UXO awareness and education
activities into its future activities in Ar Rutbah.
17. One consistent problem in all of the towns visited by
the DART was the shortage of cooking fuel. Many residents
had stockpiled propane and kerosene based on their
experiences following the 1991 conflict. But those stocks
are running low, and normal re-supply of fuel from Ar Ramadi
and Baghdad has not resumed. In some villages residents
reported that kerosene was still available in the local
markets, while in others residents report that they have
begun using wood and charcoal for cooking.
18. The DART spoke to school officials and teachers in
almost all of the villages assessed. In those towns where
the team did not speak directly to school officials, it did
question residents about the conditions of schools.
Consistently, the DART was informed that most schools were
ready to reopen, that students were ready to return, and
that most teachers were anxious to get started. Some
teachers (Ba'ath party members) are reportedly apprehensive
about returning, but remain in town.
19. In every case, officials and residents alike reported
that they are simply awaiting instruction on what to do.
They have heard rumors that schools should not open for
three months (some said six months). This troubles them
because most want to get back to life as normal, and having
schools open would be a significant step forward in this
respect. (Note: Coalition forces in Ar Rutbah are working
closely with local officials to get schools open in that
town. End note.) The lack of communication with officials
in Ar Ramadi and Baghdad is certainly adding to the problem.
20. A growing concern is the issue of salaries for civil
servants. People are very insecure and uncertain about when
and how they are going to be compensated for their work.
They are being instructed to keep track of their hours as
they always have so that they can be compensated when a new
government is in place.
21. Fuel supplies (gas and diesel) are running low in these
communities. It is still available (sometimes only on the
black market), but prices have more than doubled in many
cases. Again, there is a general sense of uncertainty
surrounding when things will return to normal. For example,
"when will the gas station have gas again and at what
22. However, in some ways, life is coming back to the
country. Traffic on Highway 10 is picking up in the
direction of Baghdad. The line to cross the border from
Jordan into Iraq is growing longer and longer. Families are
moving back, cars stacked high with suitcases, extra fuel,
and satellite dishes, hundreds of which are pouring into
Iraq from Jordan. The DART observed several cars carrying
up to ten satellite dishes on the roof as well as buses
carrying several stacks of ten dishes each. The DART also
saw two trucks transporting approximately 20 cars into Iraq
for sale -- a sign that someone has growing confidence in
security along that road.