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Iraq: money in the pipeline

14-02-1996 News Release 96/6

In response to growing concern about public health in Iraq, the ICRC has launched a programme worth 5.2 million Swiss francs to help maintain a minimum supply of drinking water and to evacuate waste water during 1996. The programme is based on the results of a survey conducted in November and December 1995, and is the continuation of a similar ICRC project carried out in 1995.

ICRC sanitary engineers have selected over 60 installations throughout the country to be provided with spare parts and brought back into operation. Eleven of the facilities are in northern Iraq, nine in Baghdad and 42 in the remaining 13 provinces. The 1995 programme covered some 90 water treatment and pumping stations, and will be completed in the course of 1996 because of lengthy factory delivery, shipment and clearance times.

ICRC involvement in water and sanitation activities in Iraq began in March 1991, immediately after the end of the military operations. On the basis of an initial assessment made while hostilities were still going on, the ICRC launched several programmes to help Iraq's water boards to restore a minimum supply of safe water. During the first six months of 1991, seven million litres of purified water in plastic bags were distributed to 70 hospitals and 40 schools while ICRC engineers carried out repairs on essential installations.