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Web update May 2015

Hereís a brief update on work accomplished by Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project in the fourteen month period since the last posting, March 2014. Our reports are normally a little more timely, but check what follows.

Four new reverse osmosis water units have been placed in Iraqi schools as follows:

In March 2014 Life for Relief and Development, through its Iraqi partner alRafad upgraded the water systems of 2 schools at Khanaqin, Diyala Province.These included Mishkalan Boys School with 438 students, and the Kurdish Ziyad Boys School, 286 students. Khanaqin is located close to the Iran border. A combination of a reverse osmosis filter/water cooler together with a holding tank was plumbed into each school.

The following month the same combination was installed by alRafad at Zaituna School for Girls and Chiya School for Boys and Girls (boys morning, girls afternoon). These schools are also at Khanaqin, 550 students combined. 

Cost for both projects about $8000.

Just as importantly we have managed to get some maintenance work done at previous locations. 15 units at various sites in or near Nassiriya, were repaired or serviced with replacement parts. Schools and clinics alike were revisited by our partner in southern Iraq, a Youth organization operating out of Nassiriya. This work came in at $1750.

As this report goes to press, our Nassiriya friends have undertaken installation of four more water units in their area, funded by IWP at a price of $3950. I should mention that along with the estimated cost we always send a couple of hundred extra dollars to this small organization in appreciation of their valuable work.

Anyone who has watched the steady pattern of this project over the past several years will be puzzled by the recent slowdown. Since the midpoint of its history, late 2006, IWP has placed some 150 small water units in various parts of Iraq, yet over the past year or so only four new ones, with four more in process. Why the decline?

You canít pull your oars efficiently upstream with the river in flood. Even before the disastrous US invasion and occupation, this was difficult territory to operate in, no matter how careful and circumspect the Iraqi technicians, and anyone this side of the world with functioning sensory organs knows about the murderous catastrophe hurled upon northern Iraq and Syria last summer. United States foreign and military policy is not the only egregious bad actor in these badland parts. The already grievous suffering is compounded for the luckless people, and work made harder, or impossible, for NGOs and other groups trying to help them.

The Nassiriya Youth Group is still with us and planning more water improvement activity which we hope to support. Their area in the south of Iraq is marginally more stable, though for the average American this would be no bread and picnic basket lunch  either. As well, we are still engaged with Muslim Peacemaker Teams/Iraqi American Reconciliation Project in Najaf. Life for Relief and Development has proposed two new sites in Diyala.

We can keep going as long as donations appear. Perhaps you might consider reaching a helping hand to the people of Iraq through our little project. There are few opportunities for Americans to do good of this nature in Iraq, but this is one.

Thanking everyone for your interest.


Art Dorland, for the IWP Committee