Baghdad, July 18: In the 100 days since the emblematic fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in the heart of Baghdad, Iraq has experienced the collapse of tyranny, the onset of chaos and the first signs of uneasy normality.
During this tumultuous period, a handful of frequently bewildered international officials from the coalition provisional authority has begun the daunting task of reconstructing a shattered country.
As the coalition reaches the 100th day of its occupation, the state of Iraq can be summarised as follows:
Electricity: Most homes in the capital have erratic electricity for about 10 hours a day. The crucial Baghdad West transmission lines collapsed during the war and have yet to be repaired, although contracts have been awarded.
Water: About half of the water from Iraq’s mains is classified as unfit for human consumption. Erratic electricity means that pumping plants are often shut down, cutting off water for hours at a time. Some run on diesel generators.
Health: All 240 hospitals in Iraq are functioning, including the six general hospitals in Baghdad.
Doctors and nurses are being paid salaries between four and six times their Saddam-era level. But American forces failed to prevent two of Baghdad’s general hospitals from being looted after the war.
Education: The coalition says all 324,000 Iraqi teachers are back at work. Their pay has been increased seven-fold. About 1,000 new schools are being built and 13,000 repaired.
Police: The police force is paralysed. The coalition is paying some 31,000 officers, but only about 24,000 are turning up for work. They carry out only a handful of patrols without the help of coalition forces.
Security: On average, 13 attacks on coalition forces occur every day. The number killed since the war officially ended on May 1 stands at 33 American and six British soldiers.
Economy: Unemployment is above 60 per cent. A new currency will be introduced later this year and a national budget of £4 billion has been agreed. Oil exports have resumed, although at about half their pre-war level. Oil revenues for the rest of this year are forecast to be £2 billion.