[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Reconstruction progress in Iraq
BBC News Online takes a sector-by-sector look at the progress made in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure.


The new Iraqi Health Minister, Alaa al-Alwan, told BBC News Online that the reconstruction work completed so far on Iraq's health sector is "only a very small fraction of what needs to be done".

Doctors work in an Iraqi hospital
Iraqi hospitals have faced shortages of basic supplies
The system - once one of the best in the Middle East - was in chronic disrepair before the invasion and was hit hard by looting immediately after it.

Developing typhoid and cholera outbreaks were contained in the wake of the fighting, many hospitals and clinics have been upgraded and a vaccination programme carried out.

But, as well as the "huge challenges" in rebuilding the physical infrastructure, Mr Alwan said, shortages of drugs are also "a bad problem".

"There is a great deal of unnecessary suffering because of shortages in medicines," he said, adding that drugs for chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes were the most urgently needed.

The BBC has seen severe problems in Baghdad's hospitals in recent months, with doctors lacking basic supplies such as oxygen and painkillers.

3 million children vaccinated (USAid)
80% of primary health centres restored or improved (Unicef)
Major reconstruction at 50 centres (Unicef)
A doctor in Baghdad's children's hospital said 30 patients had died in the last year because of inadequate facilities.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health has a new budget of $948m, up massively from $16m under Saddam Hussein in 2002.

But Mr Alwan said funding would nevertheless be a problem. For example, he said, the allocated drugs budget "is much less than what we used to spend 15 years ago".

He also said the security situation was delaying reconstruction projects and making much-needed health professionals and donor agencies reluctant to work in the country.


School attendance has risen from 60% directly after the war to more than 95% in this year's national exam week, according to Unicef.

An Iraqi school ransacked by looters
More than 3,000 schools were looted or damaged
But much work remains to be done to restore the country's crumbling, overcrowded classrooms.

About 30% of schools operate a shift system where two groups of children share one classroom. Some schools operate three shifts a day.

During and after the 2003 war, more than 3,000 schools were looted, destroyed or burned in southern and central Iraq - and 60 in Baghdad suffered bomb damage.

According to the World Bank, in October 2003 more than 10,000 schools and other institutions required significant renovation, and another 4,500 new ones were needed.

2,500 schools rehabilitated (CPA)
8.7 million revised school books supplied (USAid)
32,000 teachers and education workers trained (USAid)

The CPA says teachers have been returning to the profession and earning salaries increased from just $3-$5 a month to up to $120.

The Ministry of Education was handed over to Iraqi control in early April. A temporary revised curriculum is already in place and further reforms are planned.


Water treatment facilities across Iraq are currently operating at about 65% of their pre-war capacity, according to USAid.

Clashes in Basra, summer 2003
Power cuts sparked riots in Basra in summer 2003
Baghdad's three waste water plants are currently inoperable, meaning that the raw sewage from 3.8 million people flows daily into the river Tigris.

Iraq's water and sanitation systems have suffered bomb damage, looting, power cuts and equipment shortages on top of years of neglect.

A World Bank assessment in October 2003 concluded that only 6 out of 10 Iraqis in urban areas had safe drinking water.

Rehabilitation of eight sewage plants underway (USAid)
Rehabilitation of five water treatment plants underway(USAid)
Rehabilitating Sweet Water Canal system in south (USAid)
Water quality improved for 1.6m people (Unicef)
Sewage pollution improved for 9m people (Unicef)
Although major outbreaks of disease do not appear to have taken hold, there are concerns about the future:

"Unless the situation improves it will be difficult to control the rising incidence of communicable diseases, not just diarrhoea, but typhoid and hepatitis too," the Health Minister, Alaa al-Alwan, told BBC News Online.

Emergency repairs to systems in many parts of the country have been carried out, and several major reconstruction projects are underway - although these have been hampered by the security situation.


Electricity generation has only reached about two-thirds of the 6,000 megawatt target set by the Coalition Provisional Authority for the June handover.

Sewage on a Baghdad street
None of Baghdad's sewage plants are operating
In June, average peak production reached about 4,100MW - less than the estimated pre-war level of 4,400MW.

In early June, eight of the country's 18 governorates were receiving, on average, less than eight hours of power a day.

Baghdad receives 8-12 hours of power a day. As countrywide distribution is now fairer, this is less than the estimated 20 hours the capital enjoyed under Saddam Hussein.

The power industry also faces increasing demand as appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioning units flood into the country.

Peak production reached a high of 4,518MW on 6 October
Projects under way to add nearly 3,000MW generating capacity (USAid/Bechtel)
With the summer heat of July and August approaching, there are fears the system will be unable to cope.

Reconstruction has been plagued by the security problems faced by contractors, including the deaths of three employees of the US power company General Electric in a car bomb in June.

Further problems have come as power lines have been sabotaged and looters have stripped them of their valuable copper and aluminium, although CPA contractors have repaired hundreds of kilometres of these.


Oil production came close to the pre-war levels in March, but has been hit hard by sabotage attacks in recent months.

Two attacks on key pipelines taking oil to the southern port of Basra brought exports to a virtual standstill for several days in June.

But as sovereignty was handed over, the head of the State Oil Marketing Organisation in Iraq said exports were close to two million barrels a day (bpd), which suggests that production has recovered from the setback.

An oil pipeline burns in Tikrit after attacks by saboteurs
Insurgent attacks have plagued the rebuilding process
Iraq's rusting oil industry ground to a halt straight after the war. Looters seized parts and equipment, with estimated losses running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

Output increased fairly steadily over the following year as two American companies battled to patch up the infrastructure.

Exports resumed in June 2003, earning much-needed funds for reconstruction.

But as violence increased ahead of the June handover, production tailed off from its high of 2.4m barrels per day (bpd) to about 2m bpd in May.

A security force of 14,000 run by the company Erinys has been established to guard oil installations.

But insurgent attacks have continued, costing the country $200 million, according to interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Little oil has been exported from the north of the country for much of the year because of sabotage.

Limited refining capacity means Iraq will need to import fuel for the next few years.

The day-long fuel queues of autumn 2003 have disappeared, but distribution problems and insufficient supplies of some fuels such as kerosene still cause some shortages.

In its 1970s heyday Iraq produced an estimated 3.5m bpd, and some experts say that, with the world's second largest reserves, it has the potential to produce 6m bpd.

But the large-scale foreign investment which is needed to modernise the industry is unlikely to flow until security improves and a democratically-elected government is in place.

Iraq's oil revenues have been placed in the Development Fund for Iraq, which, until the handover of sovereignty, was controlled by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Two British organisations, the charity Christian Aid and the Liberal Democrat party, have raised concerns that some of this money has not been properly accounted for.


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific