Iraq: Basra Crisis Worsens As Iran Consulate Attacked, Power Outages Hit

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BASRA, Iraq

The International Committee of the Red Cross said September 11 that drinking water could soon run even lower in the southern Iraq city of Basra.

The main Wafa al-Qaed water treatment plant on the northern edge of Basra has been out of action due to a power outage since Friday and although other plants were able to supply some 40 percent of usual needs, the quality of the water was poor, the Red Cross said.

"This is an emergency situation. We need to restore the full supply," said spokeswoman Nada Doumani. She said she did not know the reason for the power cut.

Hospitals in Basra have seen an influx of patients suffering from diarrhea and various intestinal infections, with some 6,280 people being admitted to hospitals for treatment in the last 2 weeks alone.

Last week Basra’s health department released a water quality report stating that there is 100 percent chemical contamination and 50 percent bacterial contamination. Chlorine is not being used in treatment plants.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met September 10 with officials and tribal leaders in the Basra where violence has erupted since July, culminating in an attack on the consulate of Iran last week when 15 protesters were killed and city institutions burned.