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Red Cross field reports from Iraq

[JURIST] Thursday's field reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross [advocacy website] on humanitarian conditions in Iraq yesterday (March 26) are now online. From Baghdad:

The ICRC doctor and his assistant visited four hospitals treating war-wounded patients (Baghdad has 33 hospitals in total but the ICRC focuses primarily on facilities receiving war wounded patients). Three of these hospitals reported 60 wounded and 15 deaths following the bombardments of the night from 25 to 26 March and the morning of 26 March. These figures cannot be independently confirmed. The ICRC provided one hospital with 200 blankets and another with a first-aid kit. Further assistance is planned for today, 27 March, in the form of surgical and medical materials such as dressing kits and anaesthetic drugs.
From Basra:
Despite the progress made yesterday, the situation remains precarious since all water treatment plants and pumping stations now rely on back-up generators. These generators only provide a fraction of the normal power available to the water facilities, and their operation and maintenance require continuous supervision, not to mention the difficulties of obtaining fuel and spare parts.... There have been reports and statements that the water in Basra is unfit for consumption. To the best of the ICRC's knowledge, the water is salty but treated; apart from its taste, the bacteriological quality of this water is comparable to that existing before the supply was disrupted, and is also comparable to the quality of water currently produced in many other parts of the country.
On displaced persons:
The ICRC continues to monitor closely the situation of internally displaced people, who fall into two distinct categories. On the one hand, many Kurdish families have left urban centres to seek shelter with relatives or in previously organized accommodation. This group is likely to return to urban centres as soon as the security situation improves. The second category is more vulnerable and includes many people who have fled government-controlled areas of Iraq; they are receiving less assistance and support from the local population. The local authorities are registering displaced people falling into both categories and housing those without family in schools, mosques and vacant buildings. A few of the displaced have been returning to urban areas to escape harsh weather conditions in the mountains.
Read the complete text of Thursday's ICRC field reports.

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