[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 April, 2005, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Iraq blighted by poor services
Caroline Hawley
By Caroline Hawley
BBC News, Baghdad

Two years since the fall of Baghdad, there is deep frustration among Iraqis at the state of public services.

Stagnant water and litter on the streets of Baghdad
Stagnant water lies on the street in Baghdad's Sadr city
There are continuing power cuts in much of the country and hospitals struggle to provide adequate treatment.

Sewage often pours untreated into rivers which many Iraqis have to drink from.

Look around the Iraqi capital, and the most obvious change over the past two years has been the mushrooming of concrete anti-blast barriers.

In most areas there is little visible sign of reconstruction and residents across the city have power for half the day at most.

Funding shortage

Electricity workers recently held a demonstration to denounce violence and sabotage.

Even the so-called treated water or clean water is not actually clean - it is contaminated with sewage water
Humam Misocni

There have been repeated insurgent attacks on power stations and pylons.

Insecurity has been a major hindrance to the reconstruction effort, but speak to Iraqi officials and they say they have another major problem - money.

Humam Misocni of the public works ministry likens it to a piece of ice in the hot summer sun.

"We are crippled because we don't have enough funding. Last year we started 15 new water treatment plants all over Iraq. This year we don't have the funds to build new ones," he says.

The Americans have allocated $18.4bn dollars for reconstruction in Iraq, but Mr Misocni says more than 70% of the money his ministry was originally granted has now been reallocated to spending on defence and security.

And so dozens of much-needed projects have had to be scrapped.

Preventable disease

Iraq can't now produce all of the drinking water it needs.

"Our people are drinking water either directly from rivers or wells, even the so-called treated water or clean water is not actually clean," says Mr Misocni.

"It is contaminated with sewage water."

And that means children, in particular, are getting sick.

Preventable diseases are killing people here, two years since the war.

Statistics are hard to come by, but one official told the BBC that more than one in 10 babies born here will die before they are five.


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