Three villages in northern Iraq have running water for the first time in decades thanks to involvement from U.S. forces. And you aren’t likely to see a word about it in the Washington Post.
The 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion out of Greensboro, N.C., part of the Army’s Special Operations Forces, has been working with local officials in Dohuk Province to bring water to local villages. Coordinating with Ziyad Abdullah, head of the provincial water department, the 422nd identified the specific needs of each village, drew up a project, allowing local contractors to bid on each, then pays the local contractors.
In Nerimerki, villagers had to haul water from about two miles (3km) away on donkeys. Now, using an electric pump, water is drawn into the village and through a new filtration system to a steel holding tank in the center of the village.
Maj. Calvin Robinson prepares to cut the ribbon Jan. 23 to celebrate the construction completion of a water project in the town of Tilisquif. (Photo by Spc. Richard Vogt, 138th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment) (Courtesy USASOC)
“Really, they are very, very happy because for the first time in their lives they can get running water near their houses,” said Shaka Thada, leader of the local non-governmental organization responsible for providing construction of the project.
“We feel great to get this service,” said Hommad Omar Hussein. “We’ve had no water for 30 years, so this is a great occasion.”
In Tilisquif as in Nerimerki, people braved the cold and rain to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“We take great pleasure in providing this water source for you,” said Maj. Calvin Robinson, commander, Company B, 422nd CA Bn., in the ribbon-cutting speech. “This is another step for you to rebuild your country. My team is proud and appreciative to be a part of this ceremony.”
“Everybody’s going to benefit. There’s been a drought for the past couple of years, so it’s good that we will have a steady supply of water,” said Abdullah. “This water is good not just for farming, but also for tourism and recreation. We appreciate the help from Civil Affairs.”
Also completed through the 422nd last month was a water-retention wall in the village of Behere.
Thanks to Marine Eric for pointing out that the mainstream media in this country almost never brings you articles which tell the good news going on in Iraq. When the nearest running water has been miles away for 30 years, and suddenly it’s available all the time, that’s indeed good news.
Someone tell me why I’m not reading these sorts of stories in the New York Times or seeing them on CNN.
The U.S. Army Special Operations Command News Service contributed reporting for this story.