Monday, December 13, 2004

U.S Aid Chief Defends Iraq Reconstruction - Yahoo! News -

The aids includes 13 Water Treament plants and power station...
One can imagine that the Air & Water contaminations in ex-war
countries serious situations. i.e. the Nucleas Bomb Contaminations of Kawasaki & ..after the 2nd war world still can be felt today. But the effort must not only just from US, the local people must work together in a united front to fight the contaminations.

U.S Aid Chief Defends Iraq Reconstruction
Mon Dec 13, 8:46 AM ET
By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A top U.S. aid official acknowledged Monday that Iraqis have reasons to be impatient with the pace of reconstruction since the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), but said $4.3 billion had been earmarked for projects and promised improvement despite the insurgency.

Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, detailed several projects under way in Iraq (news - web sites), including construction of 13 water-treatment plants and a major new power station, as well as hundreds of schools, firehouses, clinics and police stations.

But he insisted the most important work in Iraq isn't necessarily visible, including building institutions, getting civil society groups off the ground and doing preventive maintenance.

"The most important work we do is not the physical infrastructure, even though I know all of you like to report on it," Natsios told a news conference inside the Green Zone, the highly fortified area home to the U.S. Embassy and other government offices in Baghdad.

But Natsios, fielding pointed questions from Arabic-speaking journalists about reconstruction, defended more visible U.S. work, which some Iraqis say is taking far too long. He said it takes months to build power plants, whose generators need to be built from scratch.

He spoke in the middle of a power outage that cut electricity to a large swath of the country. Baghdad went dark, though power in the Green Zone is supplied by generators and was not cut.

"I know people are impatient," Natsios said. "They have a reason to be impatient, but I think progress is being made and the money is being spent appropriately."

Iraq's infrastructure fell into near ruin under years of U.N. sanctions and was further crippled in the U.S.-led invasion and its aftermath. Iraq's insurgents have frequently targeted reconstruction projects, bombing schools, clinics and community centers sometimes days after they're built.

Natsios said USAID had earmarked $86 million to support Iraq's electoral commission and nongovernment organizations ahead of Jan. 30 elections. He said 9,000 Iraqi businesses have been registered, and 35,000 Iraqis were employed in construction work with contracts through his agency.Read More...
Yahoo! News - U.S Aid Chief Defends Iraq Reconstruction: "
Mon Dec 13, 8:46 AM ET"

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