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Cablegate: Dart Western Iraq Update 8 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 05 KUWAIT 002707

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 8 JUNE


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

1. DART Field Team West visited a rural health center and
two village water supply units on 8 June in An Najaf with
DART-partner International Rescue Committee, which has
already begun DART-funded work in rural water and health in
An Najaf and Karbala. The DART also met with WFP staff, who
said the June food distribution was going according to
schedule. Before departing An Najaf, the DART spoke with
members of the Coalition's Governorate Support Team to share
updates and receive briefs on various new sectoral projects.
End Summary.

--------------------
AN NAJAF FOOD UPDATE
--------------------

2. U.N. World Food Program (WFP) staff in An Najaf reported
that on-going June distributions are progressing without
major difficulties. The issue of increased transportation
costs continues to irritate food agents, and WFP has
received continuous complaints that the reimbursement
amounts announced by the Ministry of Trade (MOT) do not
compensate drivers sufficiently. This issue remains
unresolved.

3. WFP is working with the MOT to prepare lists of needed
equipment, supplies, and repairs for PDS infrastructure, as
well as a list of employees at the warehouses and silo that
qualify for overtime. These lists will be presented to the
Coalition's Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) for
verification and possible funding. The CMOC confirmed this
process and agreed to work closely with WFP and the MOT to
facilitate improvements to the public distribution system
(PDS).

4. WFP reported receiving 150 metric tons (MT) of beans and
300 MT of rice from neighboring governorates to round out
needed food stocks to complete June's distribution.
Although final stock numbers are difficult to confirm, WFP
is confident that all June rations will be distributed as
specified for the announced June ration in An Najaf. WFP
will soon begin monitoring actual beneficiary distributions
for June to assure that the final step in the PDS is
properly satisfied.

5. It also confirmed that 130,000 MT of older wheat is
stored in the area. According to WFP, 47,000 MT of this
wheat was purchased under the U.N. Oil for Food Program last
year in Russia, Australia, and Syria. The remaining 83,000
MT is supposedly an older, local purchase, but exact
purchase dates are not confirmed. WFP agreed to collect
additional and more accurate information on these older
stocks from the MOT in An Najaf to determine age, location,
origin, and quality of the wheat.

6. WFP reported that Save the Children would be working
with WFP in the An Najaf Governorate on vulnerable group
feedings. The DART was not able to contact Save the
Children to discuss this issue.

7. The MOT has received letters informing them of a USD
50,000 operation account that will soon be established for
PDS operational costs. No other news or instructions have
been received by WFP in An Najaf on the management of this
account.

------------------------
RURAL HEALTH IN AN NAJAF
------------------------

8. Fifty percent of children under the age of five in the
El Hideria area of An Najaf are malnourished, according to
the director of the El Hideria Primary Health Center (PHC)
with whom the DART met on 8 June with partner International
Rescue Committee (IRC). Many of the area's residents are
poor, he said, including 14,000 of the area's 35,000 people
who were internally displaced from the south in 1991. He
said they were living in difficult conditions with no
electricity, potable water, transportation, adequate
healthcare, livelihoods, or education for their children.
IRC has proposed supporting the El Hideria PHC with DART
funds, in addition to supporting seven other PHCs in rural
An Najaf and Karbala.

9. Prior to the war, the PHC, which has five doctors (three
women), received 110 patients a day. Since the advent of
free drugs one week ago, the director said that number has
increased to over 200. At 10:45 a.m. on June 8, 180
patients had already entered the health center seeking
treatment. Since the end of the war, unexploded ordnance
(UXOs) have injured 30 to 35 area residents. Last week, the
PHC treated three UXO injuries. Half of all injured were
children.

10. The PHC Director said diarrhea was the greatest problem
for children, and that many of the area's poor did not have
sufficient funds to travel to the PHC. The first 50 of 70
child patients entering the PHC on 8 June suffered from
diarrhea. Fueling the problem, he said, was that 70 percent
of local residents rely on unfiltered river water. Many
receive water from tankers whose owners charge according to
the quantity and quality of water. Fifty percent of the
area's children were lower than average on the weight-for-
height chart, according to the director. Another large
health problem, he said, was Typhoid fever with about 30
cases a day. Among female adults, anemia was the greatest
problem. The director said 25 percent of women suffered
from severe anemia.

Other challenges facing the PHC include:

-- Half of the PHC's power comes from its generator; the
other half from the sporadic governorate electric grid;

-- The center normally gets two hours of piped water in the
morning and two hours in the afternoon;

-- During the war, the immunization program stopped, but it
has since restarted;

-- The staff has not received post-war salary payments yet,
although they have gotten their USD 20 emergency payments;

-- The PHC has stocks of many drugs, but it is short on
certain essential items;

-- Following the war, thieves tried to steal the PHC's
generator and some drugs; and

-- The PHC's x-ray room has been closed for 10 years and is
covered with dust.

-----------------------
RURAL WATER IN AN NAJAF
-----------------------

11. The DART visited two compact water treatment units
(CWTU) in rural An Najaf on 8 June that partner IRC has been
rehabilitating with DART funds. IRC has already begun work
on five others, and proposes to rehabilitate a total of 33
in An Najaf, and to replace nine with temporary treatment
units. There are 60 CWTUs in An Najaf. The
DART visited compact water units in El Barakia and El
Bonoman. El Barakia provides 1,000 cubic meters of water a
day and serves 2,000 people; El Bonoman produces 300 cubic
meters of treated water per day and serves over 2,000. The
El Barakia system has a pipe network of 4 kilometers (kms),
and the El Bonoman extends for 3 kms. Each network is in
good condition. With IRC's intervention at El Barakia, the
unit's water capacity increased and its water quality
improved with the restarting of the chlorinator. Prior to
IRC's involvement at the El Bonoman unit, the system pumped
river water directly into the network. Now, the water is
filtered, and soon, will be treated with chlorine.

----------------------------------------
AN NAJAF GOVERNORATE SUPPORT TEAM UPDATE
----------------------------------------

12. The DART visited the CMOC in An Najaf on 8 June and
spoke with members of the Governorate Support Team (GST).
The following are some updates from the meeting:

-- Security: Nine classes have gone through a four-day
training course, totaling approximately 600 police officers
that have been trained thus far. They have also been
provided with basic equipment (uniforms, weapons, whistles,
etc.); they hope to train another 600 officers who will be
in charge of rural areas.

-- Salaries: Government employees have been paid for
April, and they hope to catch up to June salaries by the end
of the month. The Ministry of Welfare and Benefits
attempted to pay out retirement, welfare, and pension
payments on 8 June, however, crowd control was a problem and
payments were postponed until a better system could be
established.

-- Fuel: An Najaf received 1,300 bottles of liquid
petroleum gas (LPG) on 8 June and 17 trucks of fuel on 7
June. The GST has been told that regular distributions to
the city will begin in the next couple of days.

-- The CMOC is concerned about "a squatter problem" in the
city. According to the CMOC, many, if not all, of the
vacant buildings are being occupied by squatter families.
CMOC has also heard that one of the local orphanages and the
mental health institution have also been occupied by
squatters, which is preventing orphans and patients from
accessing services in these buildings. According to the
head of the GST, Save the Children is attempting to find
office and living space in the city, but has not yet found
anything adequate.

-- Health: A Coalition Civil Affairs (CA) officer recently
assessed seven rural health clinics in An Najaf and said of
them, "The farther we go out, the worse they are." He said
some of the 19 PHCs and 17 "sub-clinics" in An Najaf have no
equipment, air-conditioning, windows, and little supplies of
drugs. He is developing proposals to revamp 17 PHCs at a
cost of USD 1,000 each. He said IRC had delivered the DART-
funded emergency health kits and that they were being
distributed. "They were happy to see them," he said of
Ministry of Health (MOH) personnel in An Najaf. He has also
arranged for 120 security personnel to be added to the MOH
payroll. The new guards will have a one-day training and
will patrol the city's five hospitals that are still facing
insecurity.

-- Education: CA officers gave 18 schools in An Najaf USD
500 each for immediate rehabilitation. The school staff can
spend the funds on replacing windows and doors, painting
walls, repairing electricity and plumbing, or provide
supplies and furnishings. The choice lies with the school
staff. Receipts for all purchases must be returned within
two weeks. The CA officers said they would do the same for
all 550 Najaf schools (at a cost of USD 250,000) if they had
the funds. Other Coalition units have renovated 10 schools
and plan to complete more before the start of the new school
year.

--------------------------------
HUMAN RIGHTS SOCIETY OF AN NAJAF
--------------------------------
13. The DART attempted to visit the Human Rights Society in
An Najaf on 8 June; however, it had closed for the
afternoon. The DART was able to speak to the guard and were
told that the society had just recently begun work. Most of
its focus at this time is on the missing and prisoners of
war. Their building is quite rudimentary; there is no glass
on any of the windows, for example, and a family of
squatters is living in the room next door.

JONES

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