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Iraq: ICRC activities July to September 2006

30-09-2006 Operational Update

Large areas of Iraq remain convulsed by violence, especially Baghdad and the central governorates. Scores die every day and much of the population lives in a heightened state of anxiety. An overview of ICRC activities July to September 2006.

 Overview  

Today, many say it is easy to die in Iraq but so difficult to live. Morgues are often overwhelmed by unidentified bodies and dozens of families mourn their losses on a daily basis. Unseen by the outside world, frightened people are fleeing their neighbourhoods. Sectarian violence is forcing them to leave areas where they may have lived for generations. Displacement affects urban and rural communities alike.

The legendary resilience of the Iraqi people is impressive but on the wane. Imagine a day in the life of an Iraqi: the road to work is strewn with danger; anxiety about children attending school is constant, ensuring basic necessities such as water, fuel or gas is a permanent concern; obtaining adequate medical care is difficult; fear of being killed or kidnapped or of becoming a refugee in one's own country is ever-present. Even staying at home does not always guarantee safety and has its own problems, especially with recurrent power shortages.

Despite the prevailing security conditions, the ICRC and the Iraqi Red Crescent continue to strive to deliver aid and support to those affected by conflict.

    

 Visits to detainees  

    

Between July and September 2006, the ICRC

  • carried out 26 visits to various   places of detention. The visits were made to places under the authority of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq - including the new extension to Camp Cropper, Camp Shaibe in the south and Camp Fort Suse in northern Iraq - and to nine places under the authority of the Kurdistan Regional Government;

  • visited over 1,280 detainees (seen individually) all over the country;

  • with the help of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), collected 3,670 and distributed 5,540 Red Cross messages, so maintaining contact between detainees and their relatives;

  • financially supported 3,692 family visits to detainees held at Camp Bucca through its Family Visit Allowance Programme;

  • repatriated three former foreign detainees as well as the mortal remains of one detainee.

 Response to medical emergencies  

    

In order to help Iraqi health facilities cope with medical emergencies following armed clashes or bomb explosions, the ICRC provides them with war-wounded kits enabling surgery teams to treat over 100 wounded persons. From July to September 2006, it delivered two kits to hospitals in Baghdad and Diwaniyah governorate. 11 kits were also pre-positioned in various parts of the country, including Ramadi and Nassirya. In addition, the ICRC provided essential equipment for the emergency room and operating theatre of Al-Qaim hospital. Furthermore, it conducted three training courses for Iraqi surgeons, emergency and first-aid personnel.

 Support to health services  

    

Between July and September 2006, the ICRC continued to repair or renovate vital components of the water supply, sanitation and electrical systems in health facilities situated in conflict-affected areas.

  • In Anbar Governorate, it completed repair work in 12 primary health care centres serving a total of 655 patients a day in Falluja and Ramadi.

  • In Baghdad Governorate, it completed repair work in five primary health care centres in the Abu Graib area and one in Mahmudiyah, serving a total of 760 patients a day.

  • In Baghdad City, it rehabilitated the water supply system of the 100-bed neurosurgical hospital.

  • In Babil governorate, it completed repair work in 10 primary health care centres, serving a total of 1,370 patients a day.

  • In Wasit governorate, it completed repair work in nine primary health care centres, serving a total of 1,475 patients a day.

  • In Kerbala governorate, it initiated repair work in seven primary health care centres, serving a total of 1,825 patients a day.

  • In Diwaniyah governorate, it started repair work in seven primary health care centres, serving a total of 965 patients a day.

  • In Saladin governorate, it started repair work in seven primary health care centres, serving a total of 710 patients a day

  • In Basrah governorate, it completed the reconstruction of the primary health care centre in Hay Al-Hussein, serving a total of 150 patients a day, and initiated the construction of two primary health care centres in Shaibe and Al-Jihad.

  • In Nainawa governorate, it began work on the construction of the maternity section in the 50-bed Shaikhan hospital.

 Support to medico-legal facilities  

    

The ICRC continued its efforts to help Medico-Legal Institute structures all over the country recover or increase their capacity to handle dead bodies.

From July to September 2006, it completed the renovation of the mortuaries in the Basrah Medico-Legal Institute. It also repaired the mortuaries of the Mosul Medico-Legal Institute and fully renovated the mortuaries of the Talafar and Sinjar hospitals in Nainawa governorate.

 Water and sanitation  

    

In the face of continuous water shortage problems, the ICRC continued its efforts to respond to the needs of those affected, including resident and displaced populations.

Between July and September 2006, the ICRC

  • distributed 120,000 water bags to health facilities in Baghdad, Diyala, Babil and Najaf;

  • continued daily to truck 40,000 litres of drinking water to the Imam Ali hospital and 80,000 litres of water to some 3,000 displaced families in Sadr City;

  • began to distribute 60,000 litres of water per day to the Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad.

  • completed a project to restore the production capacity of water supply systems in Western Anbar, providing water to a total of 260,000 persons in areas that include Al-Qaim, Akashat and Al-Rutbah;

  • completed the rehabilitation of the Baquba water treatment plant, serving 300,000 people;

  • completed the rehabilitation of the Al-Saada Al-Askary water treatment plant serving 18,000 people in Babil governorate;

  • repaired the main sewage pipe in the Hay Al-Hussein sector and renovated the evacuation system of the main disposal channel in Basrah;

  • started a project to ensure the production capacity of the Al-Asmai boosting station in Basrah serving 40, 000 people living in various neighbourhoods of the city;

  • rehabilitated the water supply network in Khalil, Dohuk Governorate, and continued rehabilitation work on water supply systems in seven villages of the Balean Valley;

  • completed the rehabilitation of the Khanakin water treatment plant and of the water supply systems in Qameshalan and Tem Mengel villages in Diyala governorate serving a total of 88,000 people;

  • rehabilitated water supply infrastructures in Alsook, Aliawa, Karsi, Snuni, Khanasor, Domez-Zumar, Almafry-Zumar and Sinjar villages in Nainawa Governorate serving about 114,000 people;

  • improved sanitation conditions for some 10,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) staying in Heet, Anbar Governorate.

    

 Emergency relief  

Terrified by the ongoing violence, hundreds of families continue to flee their homes, leaving their belongings behind them. The majority of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are accommodated by the host community, while others take shelter in public or abandoned buildings and some in tented camps. Often, IDPs are in desperate need of essential items such as shelter material, drinking water and food.

Between July and September 2006, the ICRC continued to deliver relief goods to IDPs and others in need. Through the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, it has distributed food parcels, hygiene kits, kitchen sets, jerry cans and blankets to 5,000 IDP and other vulnerable families every month all over the country.

In this way:

  • over 1,000 families were assisted in Baghdad;

  • several thousand families received relief items in Anbar governorate, including Falluja;

  • hundreds of families were assisted in the southern governorate of Diwaniya;

  • about 2,100 refugee and returnee families in need received assistance in the north of Iraq. 

At the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the ICRC also started distributing food parcels to destitute families in Iraq. By the end of September, it had delivered 3,660 parcels to various charitable institutions in the country, including Sunni and Shiite religious endowments in Baghdad.

In addition, at the beginning of the school year, the ICRC distributed notebooks, pens and pencils to about 700 children from internally displaced families in Diyala.

 Physical Rehabilitation  

    

The ICRC continues to support eight limb-fitting centres in Baghdad, Hilla, Najaf and Basrah, as well as the Iraqi Red Crescent centre in Mosul and to fully manage the Erbil centre. Between July and September, these centres received more than 3,600 patients and fitted 1,200 people with orthopaedic devices.

In August, the ICRC organised a one-week training course for Iraqi orthopaedic technicians in Erbil. In September, in partnership with the University of Jordan, it organised a seminar for Iraqi physiotherapists from ICRC-supported centres in Amman.

 Cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent  

    

The ICRC pursued its efforts to strengthen the IRCS capacity to respond to the growing needs of IDPs and persons affected by the ongoing violence.

Between July and September 2006, the I CRC

  • provided the IRCS with five trucks;

  • provided support to its central warehousing facilities;

  • pre-positioned relief material in its various branches across the country;

  • organized a training course for 18 IRCS branch disaster management coordinators;

  • conducted a training course for tracing officers from IRCS branches and headquarters in order to reinforce the IRCS tracing network.