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Billions of dollars in projects to improve water, sewer and electrical systems in Iraq could not be completed because the money had to be used to increase security, according to a government audit released Thursday.
Nearly one-third — or a total of $5.6 billion — of the $18.4 billion that Congress appropriated for Iraq relief and reconstruction in 2003 was shifted to address the new priorities and heightened security as of last Sept. 30, the audit said.
Moving money to those projects ended many plans to repair dams, improve water quality and repair and build sewer systems needed to remove sewage that built up near schools, hospitals and public markets in cities across the country.
“Because of the increase in insurgency activities, contractors have had to include better site protection, hardened vehicles for personnel transportation and trained security teams with special communications capability,” the audit said.