Iraq: Latest news from ICRC staff in the field, 23 Mar 2003

On Sunday morning, the ICRC teams resumed their assessments and emergency interventions. ICRC teams visited the main hospitals in the city and continued to monitor key water treatment stations to evaluate the quantity and quality of drinking water supplies. Emergency stocks of drinking water were distributed to poorly supplied suburbs of Baghdad as well as to hospitals.

According to hospital sources, 32 newly injured patients and 1 dead person arrived in Yarmouk Hospital and two newly injured people were checked in to Ibn Al-Nafis Hospital. No new arrivals of injured patients were reported in Al-Kindi Hospital.

On Saturday, surgical supplies and body bags were delivered to Al Yarmouk General Teaching Hospital and suture materials to Al Kindi General Hospital. In addition, 10'500 ICRC drinking water bags of each 1 litre were provided to both hospitals. These will serve as emergency drinking water supplies for hospital patients and staff.

A back up generator for the operating theatre was installed on Saturday and surgical tools were delivered Sunday morning to Al-Kindi Hospital.

Moreover, on Saturday, ICRC staff transported 240 cubic meters of drinking water to 48 distribution stations installed to poorly served areas of Baghdad.


Following the complete shut-off of all water treatment facilities since Friday afternoon due to a failure of the power supply system, the ICRC team managed on Saturday afternoon to restore clean water supplies to 40% of the city. Working jointly with the staff of the water board of Basrah, ICRC engineers and technicians were able to reconnect several water treatment plants to the Shatt el-Arab river and to operate the back up generators of these plants.

Despite these interventions, the situation remains critical as the provisional water distribution networks only partially and temporarily cover the needs of 1,2 million residents of Basrah. Therefore, demarches are underway with all warring parties to obtain access to the main water station in Wafaa Al-Qaid, North of Basrah. The aim is to try and repair the regular water treatment and supply lines for Basrah.

The ICRC is concerned that further damages on power stations or high voltage transmission cables will disrupt the operation of water production facilities which will have a direct impact on the overall health situation of the population.


800 blankets, 100 hygiene kits, 100 heaters, 200 jerry cans, 100 kitchen sets, 100 cooking stoves and 100 buckets were delivered to the Iraqi Red Crescent in Kirkuk to enable them to provide emergency assistance to those internally displaced persons needing it most pressingly.


The ICRC teams are continuing daily assessment of the living conditions of the internally displacement people and emergency assistance (non-food items such as blankets, cooking stoves, heaters, hygiene items, jerry cans etc.) is delivered to those in need.

On Saturday, the ICRC provided non-food emergency supplies (kitchen utensils, heaters, buckets and more) to 130 detainees transferred from the Juvenile Detention Centre in Erbil to Diyana kindergarten; 22 of these are women, the others are minors. They were transferred to Diyana for safety by the local authorities.

34 displaced families which arrived in Dohuk also received non-food aid from the ICRC on Saturday.

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