Monday, April 7, 2003

Lack of fresh water threatens hospital work

A shortage of fresh water in Baghdad is threatening the ability of hospitals to carry out operations and depriving the population of sanitation, theInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned yesterday.At least one hospital in the southern suburb of Mahmudiya has been overwhelmed by the number of civilian and military casualties, according to the agency's director of operations, Pierre Krahenbuhl. Another ICRC official described the situation as "extremely precarious". Water supplies stopped on Thursday because mains electricity, which powers the pumps, had been knocked out by the fighting. Red Cross teams have kept generators running and set up water treatment installations but have found it difficult to move as sporadic fighting spreads across the capital.