Canadian group makes progress in Iraq with Mobile Water Supply Project

A custom-made, six-ton flatbed truck. It's probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of repairing water systems.


Aug. 14, 2003 -- A custom-made, six-ton flatbed truck. It's probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of repairing water systems.

But add to it a dedicated team of experts, plus the right kind of tools, and you have the innovative mobile repair service that CARE Canada and its counterpart, CARE International, are using to restore safe drinking water in Iraq.

With support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), CARE has developed an innovative approach to emergency water system repairs. It has converted the six-ton flatbed truck into a moveable workshop for a team of engineers, electricians, and mechanics. The truck is custom made with all the tools the team needs to fix Iraq's water facilities.

As a result of the war in Iraq and the looting which followed, many communities have been left without adequate safe drinking water. The main power supply, the back-up generators, and water treatment plant equipment have broken down, and Iraq lacks the resources to do the needed emergency repairs. What is more, although Iraq has sophisticated water and sanitation systems, it has not been able to sufficiently maintain them since international sanctions began 13 years ago.

A lack of adequate safe drinking water means many Iraqis are at risk from water-borne diseases which cause diarrhea and skin infections. Young children and hospital patients are particularly susceptible.

Since the outbreak of the war in March 2003, CIDA has committed up to $300 million in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq. CARE's Mobile Water Supply Project is just one example of how Canadian assistance is making a difference in the world.

Throughout the war, CARE has continued to provide clean water to communities outside of Baghdad where supplies have been cut due to electricity disruption.
CARE International in Iraq are based in Baghdad and are addressing the key needs of water, sanitation, medical supplies and services.

CARE International plans to deliver potable water in water tanks to some 25,000 people in areas west of capital, including Anah, Baghdadi and Heet.

Sixty-two collapsible water tanks were also positioned to help meet the desperate need for clean water that many Iraqi communities have faced over the past three weeks.

The Mobile Repair Workshop (http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/newsro-e.htm), pipes and fittings for hospitals and health care centers and food for emergency feeding of children will be shipped to Iraq in the coming days and weeks.

CARE has also established a regional co-ordination unit in Jordan to support a rapid emergency response as soon as safe access to Iraq can be assured. Canadian staff will be deployed shortly to assist with this exercise.

As the only international non-government organization that has worked continuously in the centre and south of Iraq since 1991, CARE Canada has witnessed first-hand the effects of the last Gulf War and sanctions on ordinary families.

The people of Iraq were already vulnerable before the current hostilities began. One in four children is chronically malnourished and most families have survived on just US$6 per month. Ordinary people in Iraq now face destroyed health and water systems, water-borne illnesses, malnutrition and a lack of medical supplies.

As the humanitarian needs are assessed in Iraq over the coming days and weeks, CARE Canada will be responding to them and encourages the public's support in these efforts.

To make donations to CARE Canada's Iraq emergency appeal please call: 1.800.267.5232
or donate on-line at https://www.strategicprofitsinc.com/wn/care/sp_don_e.shtml.

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