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Cablegate: Dart Western Iraq Update 10 June

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 002705

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: DART WESTERN IRAQ UPDATE 10 JUNE


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

1. Interventions by the DART have paid dividends this week
with increased security at food distribution points and
improvements in supply procurement. Also this week, CARE
began work on rehabilitating the frail water-treatment
system of Al Hillah that serves 750,000 people. The
project, funded by the DART, will increase the system's
capacity from 16 to 75 percent in 10 weeks and will improve
the water quality. The DART toured the facility with CARE
on 10 June and also visited the city's maternal and
pediatric hospital where CARE will rehabilitate its sewage
system with DART funds. End Summary.

-------------------------------
FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS IN AL HILLAH
-------------------------------

2. Thirty-eight Ministry of Trade (MOT) warehouse and silo
security personnel graduated from a Coalition-sponsored
training program on 10 June in Al Hillah. The security
guards will be integrated into the MOT facilities
immediately with the assistance of Coalition forces. A
second group of trainees will begin training on 11 June.
This MOT/Coalition training program is the culmination of
DART efforts to increase the capacity of MOT security
forces.

3. The MOT silo manager received a letter from Coalition
forces confirming MOT's independence from Al Hillah
bureaucratic procedures to procure needed public
distribution system (PDS) equipment and supplies. The DART
requested this letter from Coalition Civil Affairs officers
as a means to prevent delays in PDS distributions and to
help the MOT expedite procurements of parts during
distribution periods.

-----------------------------------
FUEL SUPPLIES INCREASE IN AL HILLAH
-----------------------------------

4. Gas tankers supply Al Hillah "fairly" regularly now with
better distribution than four weeks ago, a member of the
Coalition's Governorate Support Team (GST) in Babil told the
DART on 10 June. Twenty-eight tankers entered Al Hillah on
10 June, and 32 came last week. He said the gasoline met
roughly 30 to 40 percent of the city's needs. For the
first time since the end of the war, he observed today a gas
station receiving more fuel from tankers while it still had
some gas in reserve. "That's a good sign," he said.
Diesel is not a problem, he said, "There's plenty of that."

5. There remain shortages of liquid petroleum gas (LPG),
the primary cooking fuel in Iraq, although the GST source
said the distribution of the scarce supply had improved with
an increased security presence. Last week, some
distribution points became riotous. A growing problem is
the theft of LPG canisters, often by police officers. The
director of the LPG plant selected his most trustworthy
security officers to work the night shift, the period of
greatest loss. The director estimates the theft of about 40
canisters a day.

-------------------------------
WATER IMPROVEMENTS IN AL HILLAH
-------------------------------

6. CARE begins work on 14 June to rehabilitate the largest
water treatment system in Al Hillah, using DART funds to
improve water quality and to increase capacity from 16 to 75
percent in less than three months. DART visited the system
today and reviewed the work plan. The system, serving
750,000 people, is on the verge of collapse with only three
of 12 pumps functioning.

7. Currently, city residents receive water for about two to
three hours a day. Under optimal conditions, the system
could produce 130,000 cubic meters per day; it now provides
30,000. CARE solicited bids from 10 contractors, and eight
submitted a bid.

------------------------------------------
SEWAGE REPAIRS BEGIN AT AL HILLAH HOSPITAL
------------------------------------------

8. CARE contractors are beginning work on the failed sewage
system at the Al Hillah Maternal and Children's hospital
with DART funds that were recently approved. CARE will
purchase and install two pumps that will flush sewage
through the system, among other improvements. Currently,
sewage has backed up into the doctors' residency. The
hospital's director told the DART on 10 June that the system
has not worked for ten years. He listed additional
problems, including a poor central air-conditioning system.
Because of the heat, the director said, "Most of the sick
patients (went) out in the garden last night." He added
that the cooling system has not worked for years.
Other problems are: two of four elevators do not work; a
shortage of oxygen, and a lack of certain drugs. "There is
a deficiency of many drugs," the director said. The
hospital's oxygen supply is also low, although the
International Committee of the Red Cross said it would
provide oxygen for Al Hillah. Diarrhea remains the
greatest problem for children, followed by respiratory
infections.

9. Many of the hospital's problems are chronic, although
several have become less acute since the end of the war.
"Everything nowadays," the hospital director said, "is now
stable." He said some drugs had arrived at the hospital via
normal Ministry of Health channels, but some essential drugs
were not available. He said security had improved at all
hospitals with the advent of new security officers
patrolling city hospitals. He also said the hospital has
become cleaner.

10. Many doctors in Al Hillah have complained about new
Coalition forms, the hospital's director said, requiring
government employees to denounce the Ba'ath party in order
to receive their May salaries. The doctors are negotiating
to add the words, "for the sake of the Iraqi people" to the
end of the following sentence found in the form: "I will
obey the laws of Iraq and all proclamations, orders, and
instructions of the Coalition Provisional Authority."
According to the Coalition's deputy military governor in
Babil, the military will not change the sentence and the
doctors will not be paid until they sign.
On 8 June, medical professionals in Babil voted for a new
general director of Babil's Ministry of Health from among
four candidates. The incumbent did not win because he is a
former Ba'athist, according to the hospital's director.

--------------------------
ACTED VISITS WITH THE DART
--------------------------

11. The Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
(ACTED) told the DART on 10 June that it plans on
rehabilitating 20 rural water treatment units in Al Muthanna
Governorate, and that each repair would cost approximately
USD 8,000. Rural water units in Al Muthanna serve
approximately five to ten percent of the rural population,
according to ACTED. In Al Muthanna, ACTED said children
suffered as a direct result of unclean water. "Here,
malnutrition happens because of bad water," ACTED said.
ACTED said it is aware of several thousand displaced
residents in northern Al Muthanna whose homes were destroyed
in the 1991 war. Many residents in the three affected
villages have returned, but others live with relatives or
friends, primarily in Samawah.

JONES

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