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Iraq: Daily bulletin – 31 March 2003

31-03-2003 Operational Update

Latest reports from ICRC staff in the field in Baghdad, Basra and Arbil, northern Iraq

 BAGHDAD (30 March)
 
 General situation

There were repeated bombardments overnight and during the day.
 
 Activities for wounded, sick and vulnerable people

The ICRC medical team visited three hospitals dealing with war-wounded patients. The organization provided 250 blankets to Al Nur general hospital, and arranged for a local factory to produce 1,100 patients'gowns for delivery to hospitals.
 
The ICRC continued repair and maintenance work at two orphanages and six hospitals. This includes work to protect windows and maintain generators and water storage facilities.
 
More than 14,000 one-litre bags of drinking water were delivered to two hospitals, an orphanage and a centre for disabled children, to be used as an emergency stock should the regular water supply fail.
 
 Additional work to provide water

The organization continued to provide supplementary drinking water to poorly served areas of Baghdad.
 
 Assessment in Ramadi

The ICRC doctor and water engineer were planning a trip to Ramadi, about 80 km west of Baghdad, on 31 March to evaluate the medical and water supply situation following reports of a water shortage.
 
 Contacts with the authorities

ICRC staff me t senior government officials to discuss the situation concerning war-wounded and the water supply in Baghdad and several other areas.
 
 BASRA (30 March)
 
ICRC delegates are in regular contact with various local officials in Basra. The authorities have agreed to provide all the necessary guarantees to facilitate the work of the ICRC.
 
 Water

The ICRC team, reinforced by four delegates who arrived on 29 March, is continuing to work on improving the water supply.
 
There is now a limited supply of water and electricity serving different parts of Basra in turn. At the Wafa'Al-Qaed pumping station outside the city, the ICRC and local technicians started work to connect up the remaining three back-up generators providing power to the station. As a result of the activities carried out on 29 and 30 March the station's capacity has increased somewhat, although it is impossible to say precisely by how much. This work continues.
 
On 30 March the ICRC brought in 11 Iraqi technicians from the Basra water and electricity boards to replace the team which had been at the station for a number of days. Despite the slight improvements achieved, the ICRC remains concerned about the water and power situation. The use of generators is a temporary solution that can only produce results if the equipment can be constantly monitored and maintained by skilled personnel.
 
 The health situation

The ICRC team working on the water supply has also been evaluating the general health situation. It is too early to provide an accurate assessment of the situation concerning war-wounded.
 
 Arbil, northern Iraq (29 and 30 March)
 
 The displaced

The ICRC is continuing to monitor closely the situation of internally displaced people in the north of the country.
 
 Wounded and sick

On 29 March the ICRC provided medical assistance (dressing materials, disinfectant, suture material, etc.) to Shorish hospital in Sulaymaniyah, which treats war-wounded patients. Another visit to the hospital is planned for today, 31 March.