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Iraq: ICRC responds to acute water shortages

20-06-2006 News Release 06/44

The ICRC is alarmed by the humanitarian situation in various parts of Iraq. Recent reports about very acute water and power shortages are of particular concern.

In Al-Anbar province, west of Iraq, access to Ramadi is very restricted. As a result, food and medical supplies are running low, public services have almost ground to a halt and residents are reportedly trying to flee the area. Most of the city has been without power since 22 May and, owing to the shortage of fuel, back-up generators can only function for one or two hours a day. Consequently, water stations are unable to supply the city's 300,000 inhabitants or its medical facilities with clean water. The crisis is particularly acute owing to the current dry and hot weather.

Through its network of local contractors, the ICRC has now begun delivering 30,000 litres of diesel to Ramadi's main water-treatment plant. This should make it possible to supply the city with water in sufficient quantity for the coming two weeks. On 18 June it also delivered 20,000 bags of drinking water to Ramadi's health authorities for distribution to various medical facilities in the area.

The city of Fallujah, southeast of Ramadi, where access has been strictly controlled for months, is also experiencing acute fuel and power shortages. On 18 June the ICRC managed to deliver 15,000 litres of fuel to the city's two water-treatment plants and the same amount to its sewage-pumping stations.

Sadr City, in Baghdad, has been suffering a chronic water shortage caused by the deficient water network and soaring temperatures. Over the past week, 30,000 litres of water have been dispatched daily by tanker truck s to Imam Ali Hospital, the main medical facility in the area. Moreover, the ICRC has installed four 10,000-litre water tanks to cater for the needs of 3,000 displaced families in sector 53 of Sadr City. These tanks are filled twice a day by tanker trucks.

As a neutral, independent and humanitarian organization, the ICRC endeavours to mitigate the impact of conflict on the daily life of civilians. In Iraq it is striving, within the limits imposed by security constraints, to respond to emergencies wherever they arise. 

 For further information, please contact:  

 Nada Doumani, ICRC Iraq, tel. + 962 65 52 39 94 or (mobile) + 962 777 399 614  

 Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel. + 41 22 730 25 90 or (mobile) + 41 79 251 93 18