- Title: IRAQ: DISEASE SPREADS IN BAGHDAD'S RAVAGED WATER SYSTEM
- Date: 11th July 2005
- Summary: (MER1) SADR CITY, BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JULY 11, 2005) (REUTERS) 1. VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING IN WATER POLLUTED WITH SEWAGE (2 SHOTS) 0.12 2. MAN SCOOPING POLLUTED WATER WITH TIN BUCKET AND AND PLACING IT IN A TUB IN THE BACK OF TRUCK/ CHILDREN PLAYING IN WATER AROUND TRUCK 0.18 3. MAN CARRYING A BICYCLE PUMP WALKING INTO HOUSE/ CLOSES GATE BEHIND HIM 0.30 4. WOMAN USING BICYCLE PUMP TO COAX WATER 0.34 5. CU: WATER POURING OUT OF PIPE INTO TIN BUCKET 0.39 6. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) UM ALI, SADR CITY RESIDENT, SAYING: "I draw water by a pump but the water I get is dirty. It is full of dirt. Children are suffering from it. They are suffering from jaundice and different other diseases. There is no water treatment ." 0.51 7. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH TEAM INSPECTING SADR CITY SLUM/ WALKING PAST PUDDLE WITH POLLUTED WATER 0.59 8. CLOSE OF PUDDLE 1.04 8. EXTERIOR OF IBN AL-BALADI CHILDREN AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL 1.10 9. CLOSE OF SIGN READING " IBN AL-BALADI CHILDREN AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL" 1.15 10. WOMEN QUEUING AT HOSPITAL HOLDING BABIES 1.20 11. VARIOUS OF BABIES RECEIVING TREATMENT/ INJECTIONS (2 SHOTS) 1.36 12. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) DOCTOR ZIAD NIMA SALMAN, DOCTOR AT IBN AL-BALADI CHILDREN AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL, SAYING: "What is important to us is children. Many children came here suffering from gastro-enteritis because of water contamination and the use of contaminated water to prepare milk for children." 1.52 13. WOMEN SITTING ON BEDS HOLDING SICK BABIES 1.57 14. CU:BABY BOY, AKEEL, WHO IS SUFFERING FROM DEHYDRATION 2.02 15. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) LAMIA KHUDIER, MOTHER OF BABY AKEEL, SAYING: "Our son suffers from dehydration. Water is dirty. It smells. We want them to care a little bit about water." 2.11 16. VARIOUS OF WOMEN WITH THEIR SICK CHILDREN (7 SHOTS) 2.47 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 26th July 2005 13:00
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA3NLXRLK8AJXTMBCHL8HAK9BDM
- Story Text: Baghdad's ravaged water system spreads disease.
A burst water pipe has transformed an empty plot of
land in Baghdad's Sadre City slum into a garbage- strewn
mudbath with Children wallowing in the filth to cool down
from the 45 degree (115 Fahrenheit) summer heat.
Baghdad's water system, ravaged by war, has left some
of the population without fresh water and as a result many
are forced to drink water that has been polluted.
Near the Sadr City burst pipeline, a man could be seen
scooping up polluted water from a ditch to take home to his
Scenes like this are now common in Baghdad and show an
often unreported yet deadly side of war.
To solve the problem of water shortages, residents of
Baghdad's worst slum use bicycle pumps to coax water from
the district's battered supply lines. But the water is
making them ill.
Um Ali, a resident on Sadr City uses a bicycle pump to
draw water from an outdoor pipe and stores it in a tin
barrel, boiling a portion each morning for drinking.
"I draw water by a pump but the water I got is dirty.
It is full of dirt and children are suffering from it. They
are suffering from jaundice and different diseases. There
is no water treatment," said Um Ali.
Sadr City's ageing water and sewage-treatment systems
have been crumbling since the U.S.-led invasion to oust
Saddam Hussein in April, 2003. But the post-war looting of
a sewage treatment plant brought the crisis to a new level. Broken
r lines allow raw sewage to seep into the
regular water supply. Frequent electrical shortages stop
the municipal water pumps, and innovative means of pumping
water from the dry pipes end up bringing in extra sewage.
Insurgent sabotage, years of neglect and a
reconstruction effort halted because of violence have
turned Iraq's water supply into a stinking trickle, killing
Iraqis as surely as bullets and bombs. Most of those who
die are young children.
According to health officials, typhoid and hepatitis
type- A are running rampant through Sadr City this summer,
as residents rely heavily on a sewage-tainted water supply,
and summer temperatures of 45 degrees (115 Fahrenheit).
Ziad Nima Salman, a Doctor at Ibn Al-Baladi Children
And Women's Hospital says most children in the slum suffer
from dehydration, diarrhoea and vomiting. Babies are fed
milk made by mixing powder with putrid water.
Few records are kept of how many children are dying.
International aid organisations have largely fled. But from
where Salman is sitting, the problem has got worse over the
last two years.
The increase in typhoid is a regular summer occurrence
in Iraq because of increased water consumption, but Salman
says this year's infection rates are much higher than
usual. Hepatitis- A, although present in the country for
decades, is more rare.
The hospital he says has treated twice as many patients
with hepatitis A and typhoid in just the first six months
of this year than in the whole of 2004.
"What is important to us is children. Many children
came here suffering from gastro-enteritis because of water
contamination and the use of contaminated water to prepare
milk for children," said Salman
"My son is suffering from dehydration," says Lamia
Khudier, clutching her baby son Akeel.
"Water is dirty. It smells. We want them to care a
little bit about water," she added.
U.S. troops say insurgents are targeting infrastructure
to undermine the new government's claim to success.
In the past three weeks there have been three attacks
on water pumping stations and pipelines, each depriving
much of the city of water.
Iraq's water supply was probably the single most
important victim of the overall neglect of infrastructure
during more than a decade of UN-imposed economic sanctions.
Many had hoped that after the fall of Saddam Hussein,
U.S. forces would oversee rapid reconstruction and
But violence has dispelled any hope of a quick fix.
U.S. forces say they have spent $2 billion on repairing
infrastructure in the capital over the past 18 months. But
locals say the situation has not improved.
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