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Iraq - UN humanitarian update

[JURIST] The Office of the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq released this overall report on the Iraq humanitarian situation late Tuesday:

UN national staff, the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] and NGOs continue assistance activities inside Iraq. In Baghdad, MSF [Medicins sans frontieres] staff are providing medical support at the Al-Kindi Hospital. In Basrah, problems with the availability and quality of water continue due to damage to the generators that power the system. Approximately 40% of the population is without water while the quality of the water being provided has deteriorated due to insufficient power to process the water. The ICRC is continuing to make repairs but it is not clear when the water system will again be functional. WHO [World Health Organization] reports that due to the water quality there is increased risk of outbreaks of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.

The Coalition reports that military civil affairs teams are conducting assessments in Umm Qasr today. There are plans underway to bring in humanitarian assistance consisting of Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDRs) and non-food items. The [US AID] DART team assessment is planned for Wednesday, 26 March but remains to be confirmed.

In the north, UNOPS' [UN Office of Project Services] assessment indicates that there are some 300,000 IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] who are largely staying with relatives. Regular contacts with UN staff indicate that a coordinated response is underway to meet IDP needs. Remaining food stocks in warehouses are being distributed. Pressure on the UN from the Governor of Sulaymaniyah to commandeer appears to have abated for the moment however there are reports that NGO vehicles have been commandeered.

According to IOM [International Organization for Migration], 16 vehicles (taxis and buses) carrying Syrians home were bombarded in Iraq near Rotba. Three persons were reported killed and 16 wounded. They were transported to Syria and treated at a clinic near An Tanf crossing. This incident underlines the need to be informed about the Coalition Rules of Engagement both for the protection of Iraqis as well as for the safety of UN and other humanitarian workers.
Read the full UNOHCI report.

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