Monday, May 31, 2004


Mistake 4 – Failure to Restore Services!

Up to Saturday April 5th the day of the dash through western suburbs of Baghdad to the airport and four days to the toppling of the statue, electricity in Baghdad was almost normal. Many people felt that this time the Americans were fortunately not targeting power stations like in 1991.

On that day, power was cut. I don’t recall for how many weeks power was down…but the period was sufficiently long to be infuriating! Week after week of unbearable heat by day and night with no cooling! It was a truly unforgettable summer! [Today, as I write these words, more than a year on, power comes two hours every six.]

On the other hand, I know exactly how long we remained with absolutely no running water…not a trickle: 26 days! At our home, we had fortunately dug up a well in the garden. We used a manual pump to lift water from it. Everybody had to contribute some muscle power to get our need of water. The water was smelly but we had to use it for everything except drinking and cooking (we had stocked ample supplies of bottled water for those purposes). There was also a permanent queue of neighbors waiting for their turn to fill up from the well. In other areas of Baghdad, water took longer to be restored.

The problem with having a low pressure water supply with no electricity is that there has to be a lot of water carrying! Not to be recommended to anyone with a bad back!

Telephone lines took longer! To date, our own ground line has not been restored. However, telephone service has been restored to many other areas. Mobile telephone system, commissioned a few months ago was some consolation!

Postal services are said to be on their way back after a year of “liberation”.

Petrol (gas) shortages, persisting to this day in a country that floats on oil! At some time, the queues were several miles long; people sometimes had to spend the night in their cars in very hot or very cold weather to queue for it!

The list is truly long!

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