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chlorine (Tim Buckley)

Dear Tim,

Reference your message 19 May. And please feel free to use my first name.

1.a. Assessment of need for chlorine?

It was easy to assess the need for chlorine. After the 1991 War all primary water sources were polluted. Most power generating plants were inoperative and therefore most water treatment/delivery plants were also inoperative; in addition many of the latter were damaged. All installations upon partial repair and emergency water systems (such as those established by OXFAM) needed chlorine. The need was total. There were few intact chlorine stocks in the country.

b. How was it satisfied?

It was never totally satisfied. Baghdad City nor country-wide and I understand it never has been. (Hence the repeated calls for medical treatment)

c. How was it done?

Particularly in the first post-war months, the Iraqi authorities could not obtain Sanctions Committee approval for the importation of chlorine. Availability of funds at the time was another matter. The Iraqi authorities wanted "to take care of themselves" but lack of access to funds plus refusals by the Sanction Committee prevented them doing so. The Iraqi authorities provided efficient and constant cooperation with the UN and any other agency that could obtain Sanctions Committee approval to import and distribute chlorine to the installations, region by region. For a long time in most places the absence of chlorine meant strict observance - "boiling water". The latter was seldom possible to achieve country-wide because lack of energy sources.

2. You may find more information by reading my book (in the local library?): "Between Despair and Hope". There is one chapter and most of the Epilogue on Iraq. This gives excellent information on the realities of field work in Iraq. Under you can read some of the book reviews. The publisher is Radcliffe Press, an Imprint of I.B. Tauris, London ( My husband's book: "Jerusalem to Baghdad", may be of interest too.

3. Concerning my work (UNICEF Health Coordinator), the cooperation and help from officials with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labour was excellent. We worked together as teams. My counterparts at the ministries were wonderful people. They too suffered from the sanctions. All families felt the impact of lack of chlorine and other essential items.

Hope this information helps.

Kind regards


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