Cablegate: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - December 16

Published: Tue 18 Dec 2007 09:00 AM
DE RUEHGB #4111/01 3520900
P 180900Z DEC 07
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Chalabi's Provision of Services Committee - December 16
1. SUMMARY: The Provision of Services Committee met December 16 in a
special meeting to hear from representatives from Nahrawan and
Mada'in. Council members detailed their service needs which included
potable water, doctors and medical equipment, schools and security
for electricity infrastructure. END SUMMARY.
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Serious Potable Water Shortages
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2. The president of the municipal council said that Nahrawan has
"more oil than potable water." "Children are walking the streets
begging for water." Lack of electricity seems to be further
complicating the provision of clean, potable water. In the short
term, the committee made a recommendation to provide an emergency
supply of water to the qada. Nahrawan has 30 tankers that will get
water from the river to be treated in Nahrawan and then distributed
to the people. (Note: It is not clear how the province will purify
the water given its electricity woes. Purification tablets were
mentioned. End Note) Dr. Chalabi placed a call in the midst of this
conversation to Bagdhad Amanat which resulted in an additional 20
tankers to carry water to Nahrawan.
3. In the longer term, the municipal president mentioned that a
project is scheduled to come on-line in four months that will
produce 280,000 square meters of potable water daily. Dr. Chalabi
suggested reverse osmosis, but the council members said that their
local water mineral content was too high.
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Electricity is a Problem
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4. Council members claimed that they didn't receive any power from
the national grid which among other things prevents the irrigation
pumps from working. Currently the qada is using generators to
irrigate 70,000 acres of land. The province purchases diesel to run
these generators. Citizens are complaining about the noise from the
generators. The Iraqi Army also objects to the night-time generator
noise because it makes it difficult for them to hear small arms fire
or explosions. A suggestion was made to run the generators during
the day so as not to expose the irrigation pumps, making them
susceptible to sabotage, and use power from the national grid during
the night.
5. The council also asked that a dedicated security force be placed
on the main electrical line since it is constantly being
interdicted. They also suggested that the Ministry of Electricity
endeavor to reconstruct the line underground to help reduce
interdictions. Mada'in council members asked that the Mada'in
transformer be rebuilt.
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Educational and Health Needs: Similar to Sabi' Al Bor
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6. The local council delivered a report detailing their school
needs. Similar to Sabi' Al Bor, Nahrawan classrooms are overcrowded
and Nahrawan needs approximately 8 more classes per school. They
also need more teachers. The council requested that the Ministry of
Education build an office in their region to ensure coordination.
The council also welcomed the Ministry of Education to work with
them directly.
7. The council also distributed a report on health care needs. They
specifically asked for a 200 bed hospital to address immediate
needs. They also noted that many of the medical staff, upon
completion of their residency, requested transfers to Baghdad,
further perpetuating the staffing shortages. The Inspector General
of Health noted a nation-wide shortage of physicians, claiming that
Iraq has lost 8,000 physicians since 2003. Currently, a single
primary health center (PHC) is serving on average 40,000 people.
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Oil also on the Agenda
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8. The council noted that there are rumors of corruption within the
oil production and distribution chains. The council suggested that
the people of Nahrawan involved in the distribution be certified by
the Ministry of Oil (MoO). The council also noted shortages in
gasoline and kerosene. The MoO said the supply of those fuels is
available, but it was the responsibility of Nahrawan to pick up and
deliver those supplies, not the MoO.
9. There was sharp disagreement between the town officials and the
Deputy Minister of Oil regarding delivery of diesel to Nahrawan's
brick factories - the town's largest employers. Town officials said
that the Ministry's failure to deliver promised diesel meant that
the factories are only working at about 30 percent capacity. The
Deputy Minister said that his understanding is that the correct
amount of diesel is being delivered, but the brick factory owners
find it more profitable to sell the diesel at the black market
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prices than to make bricks.
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10. Decisions were made that would involve the Baghdad Operation
Command, the Ministry of Electricity and the Ministry of Public
Works, none of which were in attendance. We will be watching to see
whether there is a correlation between the ministries attendance and
their performance in carrying out the committee's recommendations.
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