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Water convoys set to enter from Iran

United Nations Children's Fund - UNICEF Logo [NEW]
UNICEF will also provide water bowsers (UNICEF)

The first convoy of water from neighbouring Iran is due to arrive in southern Iraq on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to IRIN on her way to the border town of Shalamcheh on Tuesday, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative in Iran, Kari Egge, said 17 lorries carrying a total of 120,000 litres of water had been due to cross into Iraq at around 14:00 local time. However, last-minute paperwork problems had delayed the crossing until Wednesday.

From the border, it will be an 80 km trip to the Al-Faw peninsula, which has so far received no water convoys. Egge said it was unclear what the water situation in Al-Faw was, but there was a population of between 10,000 and 15,000.

The approximately 5,500 jerry cans, each containing about 20 litres of drinkable water, could last the population for about four to five days, she believed. While this was not long, Egge said it might help some people who were dehydrated or suffering medical problems. The water would go to hospitals and health centres, but also to mosques for distribution to the public. Egge said mosques were a good place to use, because they had loudspeakers that could let the public know what was happening.

This trip will hopefully set up a route that could be used for further convoys of water, food and medicines to southern Iraq from Iran. There are several crossing points that could be used to bring in relief supplies along the 1,458-km common border.

Meanwhile, desperately needed water continues to be brought into southern Iraq from Kuwait by UNICEF. The organisation's communication officer in Kuwait, Marc Vergara, told IRIN that about 20 trucks a day were going to towns such as Umm Qasr, Zubayr, Safwan and Basra.

UNICEF had also taken water bladders into areas where people were desperate for water, but in most cases demand far outstripped supply. In some cases, people had been seen drinking water from a pipeline carrying non-potable water from Basra usually used only for washing, Vergara said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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