US reports progress in Iraq reconstruction
US forces plan to boost joint police patrols and are working to restore power to parts of Baghdad in 48-72 hours, a spokesman said on Tuesday.india Updated: Apr 15, 2003 14:15 IST
US forces plan to boost joint police patrols and are working to restore power to parts of Baghdad in 48-72 hours, a spokesman said on Tuesday in a first progress report on rebuilding the US-occupied country.
Corporal John Hoellwarth, a US marines public affairs officer, gave the assessment at an impromptu briefing for reporters at the Palestine Hotel here where the Americans have set up an operations base.
US troops have been criticised for failing to stem looting and restore basic services in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein last Wednesday. But Hoellwarth said they were intent on helping to rebuild Iraq.
"We are only going to stay here long enough to help the Iraqi people restore critical infrastructure and help them restore a government," Hoellwarth said.
He said 50 electrical engineers were brought in to assess the damage to the power system of the capital which went down April 4 amid massive US bombings and repairs began on Monday.
"We expect power to be restored to parts of Baghdad in the next 48 to 72 hours," he said.
With Baghdad's hospital system in a virtual state of collapse after widespread pillage, Hoellwarth said 14 of the city's 33 facilities were secure and operational. He could not say when the others would reopen.
Hoellworth said that joint Iraqi-US police patrols began on Monday with five Iraqi cars going out accompanied by marines all-terrain Humvees, and "today many more patrols are running.