Slight break from the usual “OMG Iraq is falling into civil war”, to look at the humanitarian and government services side of things. Y’know: health, education, roads – they’re all falling apart as well. Going through the reports would take all day, so I’m chickening out and mainly going on summaries and news reports. Bad Dan!
[the below slides into lj-style grumbling every few sentences, and as usual never got fully finished. I put it here as penance, not out of any hope that it’ll be read. Go read Juan or Helena if you want something informative and well-written]
Overall, services aren’t doing so well. The money isn’t there, or has been [diverted into security](http://www.uswaternews.com/archives/arcglobal/6amersecu2.html)
In April, the [BBC](http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4900174.stm) reported that Basra’s hospitals are ‘in crisis’, with one doctor claiming that mortality had risen 30% since 2003
Missan (not somewhere I’ve heard much about at all) has a [problem](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=53419&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ) with tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases. Solution: more money, better sewers. In Baghdad, [skin diseases](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=50774&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ); it’s so tempting to ignore this as trivia, but I’m sure skin diseases can be pretty nasty things.
The [IRIN](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41116&SelectRegion=Middle_East) has a summary of healthcare in Iraq which is over a year old, but has the interesting (WHO) figure that “$20 million per month is all that is needed to keep the health system functioning”
Basra tends to have problems with communicable diseases over the summer, which are exacerbated by poor water and electricity supplies.
Oh, and for the sake of buzzword compliance, Iraq has it all: [AIDS](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=53287&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ), [bird flu](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=53122&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ), [radiation](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52953&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ).
More serious is the [child malnutrition problem](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=53203&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ) – doubtless Colin could give sensible context on how this compares to the situation under sanctions in the 90s, but I can’t. Meh!
Oooh, and [drugs](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52443&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ). Don’t forget about the drugs!
This shocked me. As of a year ago, “An extimated 60 percent of Iraq’s population is now illiterate” [[IRIN](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41159&SelectRegion=Middle_East)]
I think I’ve lost the obsessive geekiness needed to get excited about water in Iraq. Too bored to start dredging the web for reports about it, and I think I’d just get lost halfway through the figures and stop. So again, I’ll stick to [IRIN](http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41227&SelectRegion=Middle_East) wsaying that before the war, Iraq’s water purification plants pumped out 3 million cubic metres of water every day. In May 2004 they were working at 65% of that level, and now….who knows?
I’ve resorted to searching through [US Water News](http://www.uswaternews.com) in the hope of finding thrilling things about Iraq. No luck yet; the best is a fact-light [article](http://www.uswaternews.com/archives/arcglobal/5iraqthir8.html) from August, which basically comes down to “if you screw up the water supply, people get angry”, and runs through a couple of cases where that’s happened in Iraq.