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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Iraq violence: monitoring the surge

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

The BBC World Service is monitoring its effects, week by week, by 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 numbers of dead and wounded since the surge began

The seven days from 16-22 August proved to be one of the most devastating since the surge reached full strength in June.

A total of 493 Iraqi civilians died - the highest number recorded during the period - and 669 were wounded - also a record - as the death toll from the previous week's multiple bombings mounted and a mass grave was found in southern Falluja.

See a map of US security posts in Baghdad

Reports suggested some 300 bodies - of men, women and children - were found, apparently tortured and recently killed.

The number of US military killed was 19, swollen by the 14 deaths in a helicopter crash in the north of the country on Wednesday.

The total number of civilian casualties (dead and wounded) in the week topped 1,000 for the first time during the monitoring period.


Pie charts showing the number of hours' electricity per day for three families

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 for all three families improved this week.

Family 1 had an average of four hours a day from the grid compared with one the previous week.

Family 2 had two, whereas last week they averaged just 30 minutes a day.

And Family 3 had power for one hour a day following a week when the only electricity available was during a three-day curfew.

Queues for fuel were shorter than at many points during the monitoring period, but the average was still three to four hours.

Prices also fell slightly, with petrol at the pumps costing around 9,000 Iraqi dinars ($7) for 20 litres and black-market fuel roughly double that.

Gas prices have soared, a cylinder now costing 7,500 dinars compared with 4,000 dinars the previous week. Cylinders on the black market fetched 27,000 dinars.

The cost of kerosene on the black market jumped from 750 to 1,150 dinars as autumn looms.


Graph showing dead and wounded at two Baghdad hospitals

While injuries from violence among patients brought to the two Baghdad hospitals being monitored remained similar to last week, the number of people arriving at Al-Kindi hospital with injuries from violence rose to 104 - the second- highest of the period.

One of Baghdad's mortuaries reported receiving 80 unidentified bodies, 15 of whom were children.

Al-Yermouk hospital had between 35 and 40 doctors on duty, plus up to 65 medical assistants. Al-Kindi had 11 consultants and six doctors at its emergency unit.

Data compiled by BBC producer Mona Mahmoud

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


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