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Iraq: Daily bulletin - 25 March 2003

25-03-2003 Operational Update

Field reports from Baghdad and Basra

 In general  

  • Contacts are continuing with both sides concerning access to prisoners of war   (POWs).


  • The ICRC doctor has checked on the situation in several hospitals, which report 60 wounded, including seven seriously injured children, and eight deaths following last night's attacks.

  • The ICRC is continuing to supply water in plastic bags and other materials such as bladder tanks to hospitals and health centres to prepare them for any interruption in the water supply.

  • Water and power supplies are working.

 Baghdad ( From yesterday, 24 March)  

  • The ICRC doctor visited Al-Yarmouk general teaching hospital and Al-Kindi general hospital. According to authorities at the former, 50 wounded people were admitted during the night from 23 to 24 March and in the morning of 24 March. They also speak of six persons having being killed. The ICRC delivered 120 blankets to the hospitals. No specific information is available from Al-Kindi except that 35 people had been admitted.

  • Since 23 March, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has set up 14 first-aid posts throughout the city. They are manned round the clock by tw o volunteers with first-aid equipment. 

  • Efforts to prepare hospitals and health centres for a possible cut in the water supply are continuing, including the following: 5,000 one-litre bags of drinking water were delivered to a CARE-supported hospital; 2,400 bags were positioned and bladder tanks installed in eight primary health care centres; two autoclaves and water storage tanks were installed at Al-Karama hospital.

  • Work continued to connect a new generator for an operating theatre at the Al-Kindi hospital.

  • A further 220 cubic metres of supplementary drinking water were delivered to 19 water distribution stations in poorly served districts of the northern Rusafa bank area and to five health centres used as emergency centres at Kharh.

  • A number of meetings were held with officials in charge of the water authorities.


  • ICRC technicians have reached the Wafa-Al-Quaid water plant north of Basra that provides most of the city's water. The ICRC hopes that as soon as possible, preferably today, it will be able to carry out the necessary repairs to ensure that the plant can produce water again. However, for the network to become operational there needs to be sufficient pressure in the system, and this can take a while.

  • Most of Basra has been without water since Friday, 21 March, because of a power cut. On Saturday the ICRC and local technicians found a temporary solution to restore water to about 30-40% of the city. The water provided is drinkable but not of very high quality. However, media reports indicate that many citizens have had to start taking water directly from rivers. The ICRC therefore remains concerned about a possible public health crisis.

  • The back-up generators only offer a temporary solution. During the next few days, the ICRC hopes to be able to facilitate ac cess for local technicians who may be able to assess the damage to high-power voltage lines and repair it.