How the US Deliberately Destroyed Iraq’s Water Supply
Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline,” the document states. “With no domestic sources of both water treatment replacement parts and some essential chemicals, Iraq will continue attempts to circumvent United Nations Sanctions to import these vital commodities. Failing to secure supplies will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics, of disease.
Iraq conceivably could truck water from the mountain reservoirs to urban areas. But the capability to gain significant quantities is extremely limited,” the document states. “The amount of pipe on hand and the lack of pumping stations would limit laying pipelines to these reservoirs. Moreover, without chlorine purification, the water still would contain biological pollutants. Some affluent Iraqis could obtain their own minimally adequate supply of good quality water from Northern Iraqi sources. If boiled, the water could be safely consumed. Poorer Iraqis and industries requiring large quantities of pure water would not be able to meet their needs.
Precipitation occurs in Iraq during the winter and spring, but it falls primarily in the northern mountains, it says. Sporadic rains, sometimes heavy, fall over the lower plains. But Iraq could not rely on rain to provide adequate pure water.
As an alternative, Iraq could try convincing the United Nations or individual countries to exempt water treatment supplies from sanctions for humanitarian reasons, the document says. It probably also is attempting to purchase supplies by using some sympathetic countries as fronts. If such attempts fail, Iraqi alternatives are not adequate for their national requirements.
Subject: Effects of Bombing on Disease Occurrence in Baghdad.” The analysis is blunt: “Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks. Any urban area in Iraq that has received infrastructure damage will have similar problems.
Conditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks, particularly in major urban areas affected by coalition bombing.” It adds: “Infectious disease prevalence in major Iraqi urban areas targeted by coalition bombing (Baghdad, Basrah) undoubtedly has increased since the beginning of Desert Storm. . . . Current public health problems are attributable to the reduction of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification and distribution, electricity, and the decreased ability to control disease outbreaks.
This document lists the most likely diseases during next sixty-ninety days (descending order): diarrheal diseases (particularly children); acute respiratory illnesses (colds and influenza); typhoid; hepatitis A (particularly children); measles, diphtheria, and pertussis (particularly children); meningitis, including meningococcal (particularly children); cholera (possible, but less likely).
Communicable diseases in Baghdad are more widespread than usually observed during this time of the year and are linked to the poor sanitary conditions (contaminated water supplies and improper sewage disposal) resulting from the war. According to a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)/World Health Organization report, the quantity of potable water is less than 5 percent of the original supply, there are no operational water and sewage treatment plants, and the reported incidence of diarrhea is four times above normal levels. Additionally, respiratory infections are on the rise. Children particularly have been affected by these diseases.
There are indications that the situation is improving and that the population is coping with the degraded conditions.” But it adds: “Conditions in Baghdad remain favorable for communicable disease outbreaks.
Cholera and measles have emerged at refugee camps. Further infectious diseases will spread due to inadequate water treatment and poor sanitation.
The main causes of infectious diseases, particularly diarrhea, dysentery, and upper respiratory problems, are poor sanitation and unclean water. These diseases primarily afflict the old and young children.
Although current countrywide infectious disease incidence in Iraq is higher than it was before the Gulf War, it is not at the catastrophic levels that some groups predicted. The Iraqi regime will continue to exploit disease incidence data for its own political purposes.
See for Yourself
- go to www.gulflink.osd.mil
- click on “Declassified Documents” on the left side of the front page
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- enter search terms such as “disease information effects of bombing”
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