Page last updated at 09:52 GMT, Friday, 14 September 2007 10:52 UK

Iraq violence: monitoring the surge


The number of violent deaths in Iraq fell again this week, as the US military commander in the country told Congress that the troop "surge" was working.

An extra 30,000 US personnel have been deployed in Iraq, mainly in and around the capital Baghdad, since the launch of the security drive, in February.

The BBC World Service has been monitoring its effects, week by week, looking at casualty figures, the pressure on hospitals and quality of life for ordinary civilians.

The graphics and analysis are based on figures from the US and Iraqi authorities, Baghdad's hospitals and three families from different neighbourhoods in the capital.


Bar chart showing number of dead and wounded since surge began

The number of people killed in Iraq fell to 269 during the monitoring period of 5 to 12 September. This was down from 283 a week ago and 400 the week before that. It is the lowest figure reported since the surge began.

The numbers coincided with a report by the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who told Congress that violence had declined significantly since the operation started.

See a map of US security posts in Baghdad

He said that although progress was "uneven", the objectives were "largely being met". It was possible that US troop numbers could be cut by 30,000 by mid-2008.

Of those killed in the past week, 163 were civilians. It was the lowest number during the 13 weeks of the survey and far below the highest toll of 493. A further 109 civilians were wounded.

Military casualties included the deaths of 19 US troops, compared with 13 in the previous week. A further 23 were wounded.

The dead also included eight members of the Iraqi military, 15 Iraqi policemen and 60 insurgents.


Electricity supply

Fuel shortages remain a major problem for Iraqis, with long power cuts and fuel queues a common feature of civilian life, particularly in Baghdad.

The families helping paint a picture of these hardships in this survey are from different areas of the city - which can mean different pressures according to the religious make-up of the area and the subsequent security risks.

Map showing locations of families

Family 1 is located in Palestine Street, a Shia neighbourhood in the east of the capital.

Family 2 is located in Zayouna, a mixed neighbourhood in south-east Baghdad.

Family 3 lives in Saba Abkar, a northern Sunni neighbourhood.

Electricity supplies became increasingly erratic over the week, with family three left without any power at all. They have had the least reliable supply throughout the monitoring period.

Family one's supply halved to two hours a day, while family two's supply remained steady at two hours in every 24.

It followed the previous week's announcement from the Ministry of Electricity that it was setting up 150 generators around Baghdad to supplement the national grid.

The continued power cuts and the approach of Ramadan led to queues of at least eight hours for gas, as people opted to buy fuel for their private generators.

Fuel prices were relatively stable, although large discrepancies between official and black market prices remained.

A litre of petrol, for example, cost 450 Iraqi dinars (18p) at the pump, but 1,000 (40p) on the black market. A gas cylinder at a petrol station was 7,500 Iraqi dinars (2.99), compared with 27,000 (10.80) on the black market.


Graph showing number of dead and wounded at two Baghdad hospitals

A rise in the number of doctors at Al-Kindi hospital was reported, after it increased its security force to 100 guards in the previous week.

It had also set up a legal office following repeated attacks on medical staff by patients' relatives, or Iraqi forces.

The hospital received 69 patients with violence-related injuries. Of these 54 were caused by shootings and explosions.

A further 15 were thought to be the result of conflict between the Mehdi Army and Badr Brigade in different Shia districts of Baghdad.

The hospital also dealt with 18 violence-related deaths.

At al-Yarmouk hospital, 20 patients injured during violence were treated. A further three people died as a result of violence and 11 unidentified bodies were received.

Data compiled by BBC producer Mona Mahmoud. This is the final instalment of the weekly survey appearing on the BBC News website.

before the surge, U.S. forces in central Iraq January 2007
after the surge, U.S. forces in central Iraq June 2007


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific