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Iraq: activities August – October 2004

08-10-2004 Operational Update

The following is an update of ICRC activities in Iraq from August to October 2004:


Visits to detainees 

 Central Iraq  


Between 22 and 27 August, ICRC delegates visited Abu Ghraib detention place where, according to authorities, 2'561 persons are held. 241 Red Cross messages were distributed, while 291 other messages were collected from detainees to be distributed to their families.

As usual, the ICRC findings and recommendations were conveyed in writing to the detaining authorities.

100 detainees considered by the US authorities as " High Value Detainees " – including twelve persons who have been transferred to Iraqi legal authority– were visited by the ICRC at the beginning of both August and October.

 Northern Iraq  

Fourteen visits to various detention places under Iraqi Kurdish authorities were carried out in August and September to some 2,500 persons deprived of their freedom in both areas, (i.e. under PUK and KDP authority). Assistance – clothes, hygienic kits, games, etc. – were provided to some detainees.


Red Cross messages 

The ICRC has facilitated the exchange of over 3600 Red Cross messages between detainees and their relatives in Central and Southern Iraq.

In Northern Iraq, from the beginning of August till mid-September, some 370 messages have been delivered to or collected from detainees.

Medical assistance 

 Central Iraq  


During this period, the ICRC continued to assist health facilities in order to respond to various emergencies as a result of heavy fighting over certain periods or in response to specific events such as car bombings.

On 4 October in a joint operation with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, the ICRC delivered emergency aid to the town of Samarra following the escalation of fighting. The consignment included one and a half tonnes of medical and surgical supplies provided by the ICRC to the National Society, which delivered the items to Samarra’s general hospital.

On 11 August, the ICRC delivered three tons of medical supplies and surgical equipment to various health facilities in Najaf.

Emergency don ations such as dressing material, intravenous fluids, cannulas, X-rays and oxygen concentrators have been made to the General Hospital and Al-Jumhuriyah primary health care centre in Fallujah. Similar items were delivered to the Directorate of Health in Wasit governorate as well as to Ba'aquba General Hospital.

Due to on-going fighting in Sadr City, emergency material was sent to Al-Russafa Directorate of Health in Baghdad which is in charge of health facilities in Sadr City.

In addition, 1.5 tons of medical and surgical supplies able to cover the needs of some 100 war wounded were sent to Ramadi Governorate (in the North-western part of Iraq).

During the whole period, close contacts have been maintained with the staff working at Al-Rashad Psychiatric Hospital in order to ensure patients had all their basic needs met. Unfortunately, the Hospital is difficult to access for security reasons.

 Southern Iraq  


Shortages of medical material persist and deliveries of items such as dressing material, intravenous fluids and basic drugs were made to Al-Fayhaa, Al-Shifaa and Al-Fao General Hospitals as well as to the Directorate of Health in Basrah.



The ICRC continued to support five orthopaedic centres in central and southern Iraq with components, spare parts, local purchases and maintenance machinery.

An average of 80 amputees per week visit Erbil orthopaedic centre for training and assistance. This centre is totally managed by the ICRC. With the Norwegian Red Cross, the ICRC also supports the ortho paedic centre in Mosul which is run by the Iraqi Red Crescent.



Food and non-food assistance 

 Central Iraq  


Several assessments were carried out in the Najaf area and Salaheddine Governorate to check the needs of people displaced following clashes in these two regions.

On 4 October, the ICRC sent four truckloads of emergency supplies to the Salahadin branch of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. The National Society will be distributing most of this aid to 500 families forced to flee their homes in Samara following the fighting and seek refuge elsewhere in the town. The trucks carried 1,500 food parcels (each weighing 15 kg), 500 sets of hygiene articles, 500 blankets, 500 heaters and 500 stoves.

On 19 August, the ICRC through the Iraqi Red Crescent Society sent relief material to 140 families who have been displaced from Najaf due to fighting. This included food baskets and non-food items, such as jerry cans and cooking stoves.

 Northern Iraq  


On August 16, relief items were delivered to 25 Iranian Kurdish refugee families in Darbandikhan (south of Suleymaniyah) and living in tents. These items included hygiene kits, food parcels, cooking stoves, soap, jerry cans, buckets and detergent.

 Southern Iraq  


Ad-hoc donations to women's associations in the four southern governorates continued. Food parcels, hygiene kits and clothing were distributed to Al-Zahraa orphanage, Al-Sadiq women's league and Noor Al-Yaqeen women's association in Basrah.



Water & habitat activities 

The following are the main activities carried out by the ICRC in the field of Water and Habitat during the reporting period:

 Water trucking is still being carried out in poorly served areas in Baghdad (800,000 litres distributed on a daily basis to various locations in Sadr City and Al-Husseiniyah district), Basra (Tahreer and Al-Jumhuri hospitals) and on an ad-hoc basis in places where the water supply is disrupted due to the conflict (Two shrines that provided refuge to 1,000 people on the road between Najaf and Hillah. during the late clashes from 18 to 22 August).

 Quick-fix interventions have been implemented throughout the country aimed at avoiding major breakdowns in water and sewage stations as well as major health structures. During the reporting period, more than 75 quick fixes were implemented in Baghdad, Al-Qadissiyah, Najaf, Kerbala, Babil, Wasit, Diyala, Salah-el Deen, Basra, Thi-Qar and Missan Governorates.

 A number of mid range rehabilitation projects have been progressively launched since August 2004. So far 5 projects have started and 12 are about to be launched. Those projects will substantially improve the access to water, sanitation and health services to some 4 million persons in areas where available infrastructures and the level of services were deemed deficient.


Promoting international humanitarian Law 

Three Iraqi post-graduate students and one university professor were invited to attend the regional International Humanitarian Law Seminar in Amman. The seminar, sponsored and organized by the ICRC, was held from 29 August to 9 September.