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Cablegate: Dart Western Iraq Update

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 002170

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
ANKARA FOR AMB WRPEARSON, ECON AJSIROTIC AND DART
AMMAN FOR USAID AND DART

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ WFP
SUBJECT: DART WESTERN IRAQ UPDATE


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

1. DART Field Team West attended one of the largest
governorate support team meetings in Al Hillah, with nearly
30 civil-military personnel, 24 local representatives, and
ORHA staff participating. The DART also met with CARE
Baghdad representatives to discuss potential emergency water
interventions in Babil and Diyala governorates, and with the
head of the Al Hillah branch of the Iraqi Red Crescent
Society. The DART learned that the Coalition planned to
vacate a Ministry of Trade food commodities warehouse in Al
Hillah on 18 May. End Summary.

--------------------------------
GOVERNORATE SUPPORT TEAM MEETING
--------------------------------

2. During the Governorate Support Team meeting, sectoral
updates were provided by the governor and city department
heads from water, sewage, communications, oil, LPG, banking,
insurance, health, drug distribution, and irrigation.
Representatives from the local newspaper, a human rights
organization, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), and the
Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA)
participated in the meeting.

3. Some notable issues raised during the meeting included:

-- Power: Full electricity will be restored to Al Hillah
in a few days as local officials work with Coalition forces
to remedy a final problem, according to the director of Al
Hillah power distribution.

-- Water: the town's pumping generators are problematic.
Chlorine is in short supply.

-- Banks: local merchants are valuing 10,000 dinar notes at
8,000 because of a counterfeit money scare, and because
smaller bills are scarce. ORHA said it was working with the
finance minister to resolve this issue. In Al Hillah, the
U.S. dollar's value has plummeted to 750 dinars.

-- Food: Coalition forces will end their occupation of Al
Hillah's food warehouse tomorrow, much to the relief of
local officials. (Note: The DART met with Coalition forces
camped at the MOT food commodity warehouse in Al Hillah.
These troops plan to relocate and completely vacate the
warehouse property by 18 May. End Note.)

-- Health: There is a shortage of drugs, and a need for
fuel and security in hospitals.

-------------------------
CARE IMPLEMENTATION PLANS
-------------------------

4. CARE informed the DART that it intends to submit
implementation plans for four emergency water interventions,
the largest one in Al Hillah, and three others in Diyala
Governorate. CARE said five of six water pumps at the
largest water-treatment system (WTS) in Al Hillah are
broken, and the sixth is on the verge of failure,
jeopardizing water availability for 650,000 people. CARE
proposes to help the city water department install three
pumps and to repair two others. With CARE's assistance, the
work could be done in two weeks, and the threat alleviated.

5. In Diyala, CARE would like to submit an implementation
plan to address the water treatment system in Khallis as
well as the town's destroyed and looted sewage system. In
Muckadiya, CARE proposes to replace a blocked intake pipe.
In Al Anbar Governorate, CARE has begun procuring supplies
for its DART-approved water interventions in Ar Rutbah and
Al Qa'im.

6. CARE expressed concern about an overburdened temporary
health center in a poor section of Baghdad, but said it did
not have immediate plans to submit a health implementation
plan. CARE has already distributed the 25,000 DART-provided
blankets and will give away the 16,000 DART hygiene kits
next week.

7. CARE emphasized the ongoing security challenges in
Baghdad. Three days ago, three people were shot dead near
CARE's office, and a few days ago, a CARE guard was shot in
the leg at the CARE warehouse by a would-be looter. CARE
lost two of its vehicles to armed carjackers last week and
has since put all 20 of its vehicles on blocks to thwart
their theft from CARE's warehouse.

--------------------------------------------- ----
MEETING WITH AL HILLAH IRAQI RED CRESCENT SOCIETY
--------------------------------------------- ----

8. The DART met with the head of IRCS in Al Hillah, who has
worked for the IRCS for 12 years. He has 10 staff and over
100 volunteers that continued work throughout the war. Much
of this work was possible because, prior to the war, IRCS
stockpiled medicines, equipment, and food in a secret
warehouse so that work would not be interrupted. This
warehouse was not looted since only a handful of individuals
knew where it was located. Presently, the IRCS in Al Hillah
is distributing a small number of food packages to the needy
in town. This population is identified with the help of
local mosques and a church in the city. They had also been
working on providing materials (medicines, medical
equipment, etc.) to the local hospitals and on renovating
some of the smaller clinics around Al Hillah. IRCS listed
sporadic electricity and water supply, poor sanitation, and
food shortages as Al Hillah's major problems, similar to the
problems mentioned to the DART by other city officials.
Injuries from unexploded ordnance have been reported
throughout the governorate and the IFRC has begun a poster
campaign in order to address this problem. When asked if
there were any internally displaced persons in the area,
IRCS reported that more than 20 houses were destroyed by
Coalition forces. The IRCS provided temporary quarters for
these families but they refused assistance, choosing to
continue to live in their destroyed homes or with family
members.

9. IRCS explained that they had been unable to contact
Baghdad or IRCS in other governorates by phone since the war
began, but has driven to Baghdad a couple of times and
claims that the IRCS is functional there (albeit in a
limited capacity).


JONES

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