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Press Release

19 November 2003


Oil-for-Food Programme

Programme Achievements

  • Food : The nutritional value of the monthly food basket distributed countrywide almost doubled between 1996 and 2002, from about 1,200 to about 2,200 kilocalories per person per day.
  • Health : Between 1997 and 2002, the capacity to undertake major surgeries increased by 40% and laboratory investigations by 25% in the centre and south of Iraq. Communicable diseases, including cholera, malaria, measles, mumps, meningitis and tuberculosis were reduced in the centre/south during this period. As of 29 May 2003 there had been no cases of polio in Iraq for more than three years. In the three northern governorates, cholera was eradicated and the incidence of malaria reduced to the 1991 level. Vaccinations reduced measles morbidity considerably.
  • Nutrition: Malnutrition rates in 2002 in the centre/south were half those of 1996 among children under the age of five. In the three northern governorates, there was a 56% reduction in chronic malnutrition and a 44% reduction in the incidence of underweight children under five.
  • Transportation: Before 20 March 2003, private and public road transport was rehabilitated to varying degrees, and safe, reliable inter-city public passenger transportation services were restored.
  • Water and sanitation: The deterioration of water facilities was halted. OFFP supplies and equipment improved access to potable water, and helped to reduce the incidence of water-borne illnesses, including diarrhea.
  • Agriculture: Agricultural improvements enabled large segments of the population to purchase produce at affordable prices. In the centre/south, poultry and egg production doubled. In the three northern governorates, OFFP supplies contributed to a substantial increase in agricultural production.
  • Electricity: Access to electricity was extended and supply became more reliable. During the summer of 2002, there were no planned power cuts in Baghdad City.
  • Telecommunication: Improved infrastructure in the centre/south was reflected in the increased number of telephone calls placed successfully.
  • Education: The distribution of 1.2 million school desks met 60% of the needs at primary and secondary schools in the centre/south, where in 1996, students had sat on bare floors. In the northern governorates, the Programme helped to increase primary school attendance by 32% between 1996 and 2002 and secondary school attendance by over 74%. Most schools operated in two rather than three shifts, as a result of the greater availability of educational facilities.
  • Residential construction:  In late 2002, housing construction in the centre/south was expected to reach 14,432,896 square metres, compared with 13,930,490 square metres in 1990 and 347,892 square metres in 1996. This includes 19,051 dwelling units constructed between 1996 and early 2003 to house some 114,300 internally displaced and otherwise vulnerable persons. Over the same period, some 685 schools were built or repaired, benefiting 190,000 students, as well as 127 health centres; 99 agricultural and veterinary facilities; 49 civic buildings; 853 kilometres of water systems and 2,800 kilometres of roads and bridges.
  • Demining activities:  Between 1998 and 2002, the UNOPS Mine Action Programme cleared some 76,500 mines from 9.1 million square metres of land, of which 3.95 million square metres were returned to the local population for productive use. The programme also worked with some 2,000 mine accident and war victims, providing surgery, prosthetics and other rehabilitation services. Tens of thousands of women and children received Mine Risk education. Mined areas yet to be cleared were marked with warning signs.

For additional information please contact: Ian Steele Tel. 212 963 1646  email: steelei@un.org


 Transport and
 Food Handling
 Water and Sanitation
 IDPs and Settlement
 Mine Action
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