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[casi] Fwd: [Students] Fwd: U.S. Clueless in Iraq Humanitarian Work

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ramzi Kysia []
> Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 06:52 PM
> To:
> Subject: U.S. Clueless in Iraq Humanitarian Work
> ***please distribute widely***
> Heavy-handed & Hopeless,
> The U.S. Military Doesn?t Know What It?s Doing In
> Iraq
> BAGHDAD (16 April, 2003) ? Voices in the Wilderness
> representatives met today with the U.S. Military's
> Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) in their
> headquarters at the Palestine Hotel to discuss the
> emergency, humanitarian crisis facing Baghdad. Trash
> removal has not occurred for a month. Electricity,
> Sanitation and Communications were all seriously
> damaged during the U.S. war, and have yet to be
> restored in Baghdad. Cholera outbreaks have been
> reported in Basra, and rumored to have been found in
> the central Iraqi city of Hilla. Some of the local
> clinics are up and running, but medications for
> conditions such as hypertension and diabetes are no
> longer available. Quality control equipment and
> systems are also unavailable, and the lack of
> quality
> control could lead to serious problems in treatment,
> as well as creating the potential for epidemics due
> to
> contaminated blood products.
> The previous distribution system set up under the
> ?Oil-for-Food? program is in total collapse, and -
> unless essential services are immediately restored -
> Iraq faces a humanitarian catastrophe.
> Prior to the war, the Pentagon set up Humanitarian
> Operations Coordination Centers (the HOC in Qatar
> and
> Kuwait, and the HAC in Jordan), as well as disaster
> assistance response teams (DART), to coordinate
> relief
> efforts between the U.S. military and United Nations
> and non-governmental organizations. Not only are
> HOC,
> HAC, and DART personnel not in Baghdad yet, CMOC was
> not even aware of the existence of these other
> military-humanitarian coordinating bodies.
> CMOC reported that they did not yet have a plan for
> how to restore essential services in Baghdad, but
> are
> working on creating such a plan today. However, that
> information will not be publicly available for
> review,
> and will only be shared with organizations that
> agree
> to work with the U.S. military in Baghdad - cutting
> out any humanitarian agency that insists on
> maintaining neutrality.
> CMOC also reported that they spent several days
> locating hospitals, power plants, and water &
> sanitation plants in order to do needs assessments.
> Apparently no one in the U.S. military thought to
> ask
> the United Nations, or other international
> organizations working in Iraq, for any of this
> information prior to, or even after, the fall of
> Baghdad. The World Health Organization and the Red
> Cross have been working in Iraq for years. The
> United
> Nations Development program has been working to
> assist
> Iraq in restoring electricity since 1996. Locations
> and assessments of civilian infrastructures are not
> secret information - except in the Pentagon?s world.
> Why didn?t anyone ask for this information? Why
> wasn?t
> a plan for rehabilitation developed prior to the
> war?
> When told that of rumors of a cholera outbreak in
> Hilla, CMOC even asked Voices in the Wilderness
> where
> that neighborhood was located in Baghdad - unaware
> that Hilla is a major Iraqi city located
> approximately
> 1 hour south of Baghdad!
> The biggest problem CMOC reported is the lack of
> local
> workers needed to get civilian systems up and
> running.
> However, CMOC seemed unaware that the mostly
> unmanned
> roadblocks put up throughout the city are making it
> difficult for anyone to get to work, as is the lack
> of
> a coordinating body responsible for organizing these
> efforts.
> - A coordinating body, not associated with any
> military organization, needs to be created to direct
> humanitarian assessment and relief efforts by all of
> the agencies working, or seeking to work, in Iraq.
> Previously, this was the corrupt, but functional,
> Iraqi Red Crescent Society.
> - Senior-level administrators at hospitals and other
> civilian centers fled with the collapse of the
> previous regime. This has led to chaotic conditions
> where lower-level staff are unsure who, if anyone,
> has
> the authority to make urgent decisions. This ?power
> vacuum? must be immediately filled by creating new,
> decision-making-structures, not corrupted by the
> previous regime.
> - The U.S. military has demonstrated that it is
> neither prepared, nor interested in becoming
> prepared,
> to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by their
> war. The international community must exert itself,
> and return UN control to dealing with this crisis,
> until Iraqis can form a government of their own to
> deal with the problems created by 12 years of
> sanctions and war.
> Time is short.
> ###
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