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Update for September, 2012 

Here is a summary of work completed by Iraq Water Project since the last update, February 2012 (homepage “What’s New”), together with other developments.

In April our friends at the Nassiriya NGO placed a reverse osmosis (RO) water unit at a vocational institution called Ur school, Thi Qar Province. They also provided a stainless steel reservoir for drinking water, a new handwashing basin and a toilet. The floor was retiled. This installation was a replacement for alFihood school, described in the previous update. When the team arrived at alFihood with tools and materials, they were told the local ministry of education had forbidden the school’s principal to accept any manner of outside help. Draw your own conclusions. Our regrets to the luckless students at alFihood.

In June we sent some funds to our contact Ahmed at the aforementioned NGO to carry out repair work on previous installations. I must painfully report that returning home from this work Ahmed was killed in a car wreck. His brother Asaad, also with the NGO, was seriously injured. This misfortune supplied one of the rare exceptions where IWP funds were used for something other than water improvements: we wired Asaad money  both to help him cover medical expenses and pay some of the costs of his brother’s funeral. All members of our project committee agreed.

Asaad has recovered sufficiently---still hobbling with a cane---that he was able to fulfill his brother’s promise to the Nassiriya Technical Institute to place RO units in both the men’s and women’s dorms on campus. This was done in August.

We have also reestablished connection with life for Relief and Development, the American Islamic NGO we worked with at the very beginning of Iraq Water Project.

Life workers placed an RO water unit at the Yaqout Hamwi school (900 students), Diyala Province in July, and another project in that province is pending. We are glad to cooperate with Life again; the vfp effort now covers two provinces. IWP once spread its wings over much of the country, but when the original installation team was lost our geography got pretty constricted. That story can be read at the August 2011 update.

I have received credible information that the Iraqi government is making serious difficulties for American or western aid organizations operating in their country. This obstacle is added to the danger from anti-western extremists who view even people like us as enemies. You will not find any Iraqi last names in these reports for exactly this reason.

We thank again our friend engineer Faiza, now in Cairo, and her family, as well as all the people over the years who have made Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project, and its twelve year survival, possible. Salaam.

Art Dorland, IWP Chair