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[casi] Iraq Water Project: background info

Here is some background information on the
Iraq Water Project, if you're interested:
1) the first press release, and
2) an initial description of the project

-----------Fwd Message-----------
Press Release
October 2000

US Veterans to go to Iraq to Rebuild Water-Treatment

United States military Veterans will go to Iraq to help
rebuild water treatment facilities that were either
destroyed by U.S. and British bombers, or rendered
inoperable by the allies-led economic sanctions.

Veterans for Peace, Inc., a non-profit educational and
humanitarian organization with a long record of
accomplishments since its creation in 1985, is proud to
launch The Iraq Water Project. Veterans for Peace, Inc. is
an organization based in Washington, DC that holds 81
chapters nationwide as well as several international
affiliations. It is an accredited NGO (Non-Governmental
Organization) with the United Nations through their
Department of Public Information.

Waterborne diseases account for most of the child
fatalities caused by sanctions (at least 4,000 per month
under the age of 5 years old). Under The Iraq Water
Project, Veterans for Peace (VFP) will restore water-
cleansing capabilities and provide 10 years of maintenance
to four water-treatment facilities located in a suburb of
Basrah (a major city in the southeast) called Abul
Khaseeb. This area has been ravaged by 2 wars, sanctions,
and ongoing bombings. Furthermore, it has been virtually
poisoned by the aftereffects of depleted uranium weapons
and ammunition use. The population in the region that will
be serviced by The Iraq Water Project totals between
65,000-70,000 people. Funds to be raised for repair are
between $110,000-$125,000.

In an unprecedented effort to further expose the
devastating effects of US-led sanctions on Iraq, two teams
of former US servicepeople' Viet Nam, Korean War, and WW II
veterans, as well as many Gulf War veterans will enter
Iraq. They then will physically help rebuild these four
water facilities. It is the intent of The Iraq Water
Project for the public to see US service veterans working
alongside Iraqi engineers. The first team of veterans is
scheduled to depart the US on October 2.

The Iraq Water Project is a partnership with Life for
Relief and Development, another non-profit organization.
Life is the only relief organization to have dual
permission from both the Iraqi government and the US
Treasury Department, to do relief work in Iraq. It is they
who will work out the logistics inside Iraq.

The project is led by Co-Chairperson Fredy Champagne; VFP
Board of Directors member and Viet Nam veteran. In 1988,
Mr. Champagne created a similar but larger program in 1988
called the Veterans Viet Nam Restoration Project (VVRP).
The VVRP provided American veterans and others with
opportunities to return to Viet Nam for humanitarian
service. The VVRP operate(d) under the premise that
returning to Viet Nam, working directly on community
projects and returning to former war zones where they
served, helps veterans heal the legacy of war.

The other Co-Chairperson is Edilith Eckart, longtime noted
peace activist and recent winner of Physicians for Social
Responsibility's "Broad Street Pump" award. Ms. Eckart has
been a long-standing member of VFP' s Board of Directors.
She now devotes most of her energies to The Iraq Water

The Project Coordinator for The Iraq Water Project is
accomplished New York City Playwright Michael John Carley.
Mr. Carley is also VFP's United Nations NGO
Representative, for whom he has worked in Bosnia and Iraq,
among others, since 1991.

And here is an initial description of the project:

-----------Fwd Message-----------
Veterans for Peace: Iraq Water Project

From: Fredy Champagne
Subject: Iraq Water Project Launch

To all who have expressed an interest in going to Iraq
with us: We are close to receiving our final approval and
permission from the Iraqi Government and our US Treasury
License. I'm enclosing a 3-page summary of the project. We
are about to launch our press conference and fund-raising
campaign. Our new color brochures are being printed. Our
website will be up soon. Want to help? Are you seriously

IRAQ WATER PROJECT - Summary of Current Proposal

SUMMARY: In response to the continuing crisis in Iraq due
to the economic sanctions imposed by the United States,
Veterans for Peace members in Northern California have
initiated a project proposal aimed at improving the
quality of water supply. Members of VFP intend to travel
to Iraq and begin the hands-on work to restore clean and
filter water to small villages.

PROBLEM: The economic sanctions are killing nearly 6000
persons per month in Iraq as we speak. Many of these
deaths can be prevented with adequate supplies of clean
and filtered water. Many water treatment plants have been
rendered inoperable by the continued bombing campaign. In
addition, the delivery system of pipes, pumps and valves
have been damaged allowing untreated water to enter the
delivery system. The Iraqi government is being prevented
from importing the pipes, equipment and fittings as
supplies necessary to improve the situation.

PROPOSAL: Veterans for Peace proposes to send a team of
veterans and activists to Iraq to begin the process
rebuilding the water treatment facilities. VFP cannot do
this alone. VFP proposes to "begin" this process of
rebuilding Iraq's water treatment facilities in hopes that
we can inspire other organizations to join with us in a
coalition to complete this work.

RESULTS EXPECTED: Veterans for Peace proposes to lead the
first teams of veterans back into Iraq. As American
veterans working to help ease Iraqi suffering with hand's
on work in Iraq, we would naturally receive a great deal
of publicity in the US press. We would hope to call the
attention of the American public to this problem, and join
in the world-wide movement to end the sanctions. It is up
to us, here in the heart of the beast, to stop the US
government from continuing these cruel sanctions.

HISTORY: Veterans for Peace has a strong history of
helping and supporting projects in Viet Nam, Cuba, Laos,
Chiapas, El Salvador, Bosnia and Nicaragua. Veterans for
Peace has called for the lifting of the sanctions, and
this project will add weight and deed to words.


In Iraq there are actually 188 water treatment
facilities/centers/plants. Towards the south, near Basrah,
is where we all know the greatest need lies.

Southeast of the Basrah city proper, and lying right next
to the Iranian border, is a suburb called "Abul Khaseeb."
This suburb, or "district", is home to roughly 145,000
people and utilizes 7 of the aforementioned 188 treatment
plants. Of those 7, none are operating even remotely well.
However, 3 are presently being fixed by outside agencies.
This will improve things dramatically for slightly more
than half the population.

The 4 remaining plants, of which there are no plans for
restoration, serve a population of 66,000-70,000 people,
most of whom are workers, date farmers, and fishing
industry employees. No doubt you can guess that this
population has been devastated by two wars (Iran and the
U.S.) as well as sanctions. This is a high, need area.
There's no sewage treatment, no water treatment.


1. Labbani
A medium to large-sized facility serving at least 55,000
people. For PR purposes, the sheer number of populace
served could be instrumental to our success. However, here
the water is partially treated, whereas the other 3 have
no treatment at all (forget drinking, the water isn't even
fit for bathing at the other 3-just laundry). What that
means is that while people are getting sick from the
water, few, if any, are dying from it.

2. Hamden Bridge
Services at least 3,000. PR-wise, 3,000 is nothing, but
there is a huge, need here. The suffering is immense.

3. Hamden Ballad
Same as above-3,000 served and high need. Also, this is
right next to a schoolyard. While we were inspecting the
facility, kids frequently came over to drink the water
running from a loose pipe.

4. Nahar-Khooz
Interesting site. This community was isolated in a
somewhat remote spot so that the 5,000 residents could be
right next to the fertilizer factory where they worked.
The company built the water facility. However, in 1991 the
plant was bombed during the Gulf war and has never been

Valley, SE of Basrah

Anticipated budget for the Iraq Water Project is as
follows: $98,000. Below you will see the four water
treatment plants with a breakdown of each plant's cost of

Nahar-Khooz (5,000 persons) Total cost: $23,000
Repair $18,000
New generator $2,500
Maintenance for est. 10 year period $2,500

Hamden Bridge (3,000 persons) Total cost: $20,000
Repair $12,500
New generator $5,000
Maintenance for est. 10 year period $2,500

Hamden Balad ("town" 3,000 persons) Total cost: $20,000
Repair $12,500
New generator $5,000
Maintenance for est. 10 year period $2,500

Labbani Treatment facility (55,000persons) Total cost:
Repair $30,000
Repairs to existing generator $2,500
Maintenance for est. 10 year period $2,500

The challenge for Veterans for Peace, Inc. is to raise a
total of $98,000 or more within the next 12-18 months. It
is anticipated that these funds will be raised with a
combination of grants, and donations.

In general, the project should be sub-divided into two
smaller projects. First, to complete the Labanni Plant
renovations, serving the largest number of people with
clean drinking water. The second phase would involve the
three smaller treatment facilities.

Foundations are expected to contribute to this series of
projects. It is hoped that a major foundation will help us
with one or more of the water treatment plants. Perhaps
the Labbani plant ($35,000) can be funded by one major
foundation, or a combination of two or three foundations.
It could be 6-9 months before these grants can be prepared
and approved and funds released.

We've been asked: "Where in the budget is the airfare"?
Sorry, not here. Each veteran or delegate team member that
travels to Iraq as part of our projects, will pay their
own expenses. Each team member would beauthorized to raise
his/her own funds to participate and thereby,support
themselves. In addition, each team member would contribute
to a trip fund to cover all expenses such as food,
lodging, transportation, etc.

There are many ways to help. As you saw in our summary, we
need to raise $36,000 for our first project, the Labanni
plant. We can do this, but obviously, we will need a lot
of help. We, the IWP Committee, will be responsible for
raising these funds. But we will need coordinators in most
major cities to help us with the following:

Help us publicize the project with the local media in your

Help us outreach to all Peace and Justice organizations in
your area,including veterans groups, Muslim or other faith
religious groups,humanitarian groups, etc. We need our
information spread on theirmailinglists, and we'd like to
get other organizations to put on an event for us as a

Help us find Gulf War Veterans willing to go with us on
our first team. We have several volunteers already, from
the Viet Nam war and Korea and WWII. We need the Gulf War
Veterans to front our team and "lead" our team back into
Iraq. We'll have more media impact if there are more Gulf
War Vets. Therefore, can you find us any, even one, that
can be sent from your area.

Other organizers around the country will try and do the
same in each area we are represented.

And of course, you are invited to go. We have not yet
limited ourselves, and think that the larger the
delegation, the better. If you cannot go, we would still
love to have your help.

Are you an organizer? Are you a fund-raiser? Do you have
your own mailing list of Iraq Supporters? Do you have time
and desire to pump out our material on the net to everyone
we can get our copy to?

All help appreciated.

Fredy Champagne [1]
Co-Chair, Iraq Water Project
Ph/Fax 707.943.1874
Member Board of Directors Veterans for Peace

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