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"Local officials blame Bechtel, the San Francisco-based company that has received hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. reconstruction contracts."
“This is just like Saddam’s time. In fact, it is worse. We have less water now than before. We are all sick with stomach problems and kidney stones. Our crops are dying.”
"At another small village between Hilla and Najaf, 1500 people are drinking water from a dirty stream which slowly trickles near the homes. Everyone has dysentery, many with kidney stones, a huge number with cholera. One of the men, holding a sick child, tells me, “It was much better before the invasion. We had 24 hours running water then. Now we are drinking this garbage because it is all we have.”
A little further down the road at a village of 6000 homes called Abu Hidari, it is more of the same. Here, Saddam was rebuilding the pipes, but this ceased during the invasion and has yet to be resumed. The women are carrying water from a nearby dirty creek into their homes, because again, they have no other option. "
The US-led allied forces deliberately destroyed Iraq's water supply during the Gulf War - flagrantly breaking the Geneva Convention and causing thousands of civilian deaths.
During allied bombing campaigns on Iraq the country's eight multi-purpose dams had been repeatedly hit, simultaneously wrecking flood control, municipal and industrial water storage, irrigation and hydroelectric power. Four of seven major pumping stations were destroyed, as were 31 municipal water and sewerage facilities - 20 in Baghdad, resulting in sewage pouring into the Tigris. Water purification plants were incapacitated throughout Iraq.
Water-borne diseases in Iraq today are both endemic and epidemic. They include typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, cholera and polio (which had previously been eradicated), along with a litany of others.
A child with dysentery in 1990 had a one in 600 chance of dying - in 1999 it was one in 50.
he Ministry of Defence yesterday admitted the electricity system that powers water and sanitation for the Iraqi people could be a military target, despite warnings that its destruction would cause a humanitarian tragedy.
While military planners insist they have taken into account the humanitarian threat in the event of hostilities breaking out, a spokesman for the MoD admitted decisions may have to be made where a potential target had a "dual use".