Iraq: Daily bulletin – 30 March 2003
30-03-2003 Operational Update
Latest reports from ICRC staff in the field in Baghdad and Basra
Highlights: ICRC team resumes work in Basra (see below)
Most telephone lines are down, making it difficult to get reliable information on the situation around the country. It is impossible to verify reports from various Governorates, often mixed with alarming rumours. It is even difficult to know for certain which roads inside the capital are still practicable and safe.
There is also a growing feeling of helplessness at the thought of war victims in places such as Najaf, Nasiriyah, Kerbala and the difficulty of getting access to these cities.
Reports appear to confirm that the continued power cuts in Al Anbar Governorate since Friday have created a serious water shortage in at least four populated areas (Heet, Ramadi, Hay Al-Bakr and Fallujah).
Bombardments have continued. Heavy shelling went on through the night and this morning (30.03), shaking the ICRC office.
Wounded and sick
ICRC remains in close contact with medical facilities in the capital.
Officials at Al Nur hospital, where victims of Friday’s (28.03) explosion at a local market were taken, say that they were able to cope with this influx of wounded. The ICRC will provide additional surgical supplies.
Some 13,000 one-litre bags of water were produced yesterday (29.03) and delivered to hospitals in the capital.
Power supplies to the whole western side of Baghdad have been down since Thursday night.
ICRC engineers and technicians are seeking to ensure that the city's water treatment plants are powered at least six hours a day by back-up generators. Some treatment plants (Karkh, Wathba, Karama and Saba Nissan) have not been affected by power cuts.
On 29.03 a missile hit a factory close to Al Rasheed treatment plant, damaging several buildings inside the plant compound. The ICRC’s contractors acted swiftly to help repair one building housing the back-up generators.
Emergency engineering works continued at several hospitals and health centres, mainly to install and connect additional water storage tanks (Al Nu'man and Al Karkh hospitals) or overhaul/maintain back-up generators (Shaheed Adnan hospital and Al Ilwiyah paediatric hospital).
Supplementary drinking water was delivered to eight water distribution centres installed by the ICRC in poorly served areas of northern Rasafa.
The ICRC is following up the cases of foreign journalists whose whereabouts are unknown.
On 29 March a team of four delegates (engineer, health delegate, field delegate and the head of sub-delegation) managed to get access to Basra from Kuwait, across the front line, with the full cooperation of all parties.
Wounded and sick
The health delegate has established contacts with the Ministry of Health with the aim of assessing the situation in Basra’s hospitals.
The team visited the main water treatment station (Wafaa Al Qaid) north of Basra and delivered urgently-needed spare parts. Iraqi technicians from the local water board have been present on the site during the past few days. The station is functioning at only 50% of its capacity.
Over the coming days, the ICRC engineers, together with the Iraqi technicians, will work on reconnecting the station to the other three back-up generators so that the station can function fully and cover the needs of the city’s inhabitants.