Kurdistan Today Online Version:
November 21, 2001
IRAQI KURDISTAN UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS AT
Dr. Saadi Barzanji, President of the University of Salahaddin
and Ismat M. Khalid, President of the University of Duhok travelled
to Australia at the invitation of the Australian government
along with other representatives from the region. They were
invited to participate in the UNITING IN DIVERSITY: A KURDISH
PERSPECTIVE Conference in Sydney on October 15.
At meetings with government officials, members of parliament,
and university officials they informed them about
the current situation here and looked for ways to increase
bilateral relations and to gain support for the long-term political
solution to the situation in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Officials were very interested in developments in the region
under SCR-986 and KRG-funded projects.
At meetings with several universities, discussions focussed
on ways to carry out joint projects, online learning, student
exchange programs and possible scholarships for students from
the region. All agreed that the two weeks of meetings were very
The major route from Salahaddin to Erbil has been undergoing
major upgrading and improvements during the past couple of years.
The work has been completed up to the Bastora Bridge.
From July 1, work began on the 4 km section from the bridge
to Banaman, just below Salahaddin. The final cut has been done
and the sub-base is layed. KRG allocated 6.5 million I.D. for
this part of the road construction.
The route passes through very rocky and rough terrain requiring
a lot of excavation work. Around 300,000 cu m were excavated
from one 2.5 km section. At that time, a huge rock (100m x 3.5m
x 3m) was uncovered that needed to be blasted out before work
could proceed further.
Two large box culverts have also been completed to divert water
from rain and the snow melt during the winter and spring.
Ministry of Works and Housing staff prepared the designs and
are directly involved in the construction of the road.
A new 96 m four-lane bridge is also being constructed to join
the previously completed section from Khanzad across the Bastora
The bridge, which is sub-contracted to a Turksih company was
also designed by MOWAH and is being supervised by their staff.
The road and bridge are expected to be done in the Spring of
DELIZIAN COMPACT UNIT WATER PROJECT UNDERWAY
Two communities are set to benefit from a water project being
undertaken by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development,
Ministry of Municipalities and Tourism (MOMAT), UNCHS (Habitat)
and UNICEF. Delizian and Badilian will directly benefit when
the project is completed in the spring.
Delizian, a community that has been resettled
since 1999 by returnees from Iran and other IDPs has had to
contend with getting their drinking water by tanker. The 2,000
residents are anxious to resolve their water problems and pleased
that a solution has been found. Badilian, a large village nearby
with 1,400 residents will also be supplied.
Site for the Delizan compact unit on the
Originally, it was planned to supply these communities from
Soran; however, the drought had a severe impact on the amount
of water available and with the large increase in population
in Soran itself, it became impossible to use the water supply
Geological study determined that the area was unsuitable for
a well to be drilled and no springs had an adequate supply for
the two communities.
The best possible solution is to bring water from the Sardaw
River about 4.5 km away. UNICEF working with MORAD will install
a compact unit to filter and purify the water and pump it to
the village. This project is the first of its kind undertaken
by the KRG.
A special office is being constructed near the compact unit
for the staff who will be responsible for operating and maintaining
While this work is ongoing, HABITAT, MORAD and MOMAT will be
building the water network in the Delizian community that will
allow each household to have running water.
MORAD and UNICEF will be building a similar
network for the Badilian village
The project will install an intake unit at the river and pump
the water about 500 m to the compact unit where the water will
be filtered and purified and then pumped another 500 m to a
storage area with a booster pump that will pump the water 4
km to Delizian to a reservoir from which water will be distributed
to individual households.
MEROZ SELF-BUILD HOUSING PROJECT STARTED
The resettlement of Meroz is a story of determination to reconstruct
and rehabilitate an area that has been destroyed more than once.
The remote area is about 220 km north of Erbil in a beautiful
mountainous area of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Site for the first 250 houses in Meroz
The area was famous for its sheep and goats that have grazed
the slopes for centuries. It has excellent honey that is sought
after in city markets. Nut crops have also provided an excellent
income for local farmers in the past. The orchards and trees
have largely been left untended for several years and projects
will have to be carried out to rehabilitate them and to assist
the farmers who return to the area.
The existing road is currently undergoing a major improvement
project to widen and pave it so that access to the area will
be much easier and faster. The difficult work to blast through
the rock of the first 6.5 km has been completed and the sub-base
has been laid. An additional 3.5 km have been widened and the
earth work is done. The Ministry of Reconstruction and Development
(MORAD) is pushing ahead with the roadwork while the weather
holds. This is an area that sees several of meters of snow each
Meanwhile, 242 families have moved to the area to begin work
on their houses. The race is on for everyone to try to get the
foundations completed and the floors poured before the snow
comes. The rest of the work will have to wait until spring.
The project being carried out with SCR-986 funding is using
the services of five contractors to deliver supplies for the
house construction. Sand, gravel and cement blocks have been
delivered to the site. Families are also eligible to receive
cash assistance that is paid to them in three stages at the
beginning of each construction phase.
Six engineers are on site to supervise and to provide advice
to the families at work. Many are cooperating and collaborating
with each other to get the work done.
The community will have schools, a health center, roads, sewerage
system and a water network when completed. Another 600 houses
are planned for the area and it is expected that work will begin
on those next spring.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE FLOWER SHOP OPENS
In mid-October, a new flower shop opened in Erbil on the Kirkuk-Erbil
Road directly opposite the President's Office at the University
New flower shop opens on the Kirkuk road
Last year, The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation in cooperation
with FAO built a nursery with the primary purpose of growing
flowers. The nursery serves as a training center for farmers
across the region.
With the nursery functioning well, the Ministry now aims to
work on creating a market for fresh flowers. They have been
providing fresh flowers to various regional Ministries on special
occasions and with this new retail outlet are hoping that people
in Erbil will start to buy flowers for their homes or for special
Flowers and plants are for sale in the shop and orders can
also be placed. Staff are hoping that demand will grow. Ministry
staff are supporting the project in an effort to open up a new
business opportunity for farmers in the region.
PHARMACIES ARE IMPORTANT SMALL BUSINESSES
IN THE COMMUNITY
Iraqi Kurdistan has been struggling to recover from years of
neglect, destruction, sanctions and embargos but despite the
difficulties and obstacles people work hard to build small businesses
and support themselves.
One prominent profession, pharmacy, sets an example for others
to follow. Pharmacists in the region must complete a five-year
university degree program before becoming eligible to practice.
Upon graduation, they must complete a three-year supervised
period. At least one year must be spent in a smaller community.
After completing the three-years under supervision, the pharmacist
can be registered with the Pharmacists' Syndicate, which is
the governing body for the profession.
Many Erbil pharmacies are located along
In Erbil, there are about 60 pharmacies mostly small businesses
that are owner operated. Many of them are clustered together
in the district where many doctors have located their offices.
Many employ other pharmacists or clerks as well.
Pharmacies are only open in the afternoon because all pharmacists
must work at government hospitals or clinics half-days for 25
Pharmacists purchase supplies from the six wholesalers suppliers.
Most medicines are brought from Iran, Iraq or other Far Eastern
countries, such as India. Most pharmacies work with a single
supplier with whom they build a strong working relationship.
The difficult situation in the region makes it tough for the
pharmacists to keep their stores stocked with important medicines.
It is particularly difficult to find the cytotoxis (anti-tumor
drugs) in the region.
Another problem faced by practicing pharmacists is the lack
of up-to-date reference material on newly introduced medicines
that would benefit local citizens. More recently, they are able
to access some of this information on the Internet, but many
would support a more active role of the Kurdistan Regional Government
in seeking resource material and providing more health information
from the WHO to the general public.
RED CROSS SPONSORS CALLIGRAPHY COMPETITION
For the past three years, the ICRC has sponsored a competition
that promotes understanding of human rights under the Geneva
Convention and other international treaties. There have been
painting and poster competitions for regional artists and this
year's was among the calligraphers. Erbil is famous for its
calligraphy and the competition brought many excellent examples
of this work to the attention of the local community. There
were many fine examples of the different styles on display.
The winning entries were beautiful pieces of art.
Akram Mantik, Governor of Erbil, views
calligraphy competition with Sylvana Mutti from the Red Cross
at the Media Gallery in Erbil
Next year, the ICRC is considering sponsoring a competition
for local journalists that will be announced in the spring.
Seminars will assist journalists to learn reporting techniques
and will focus on human rights issues.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been
active in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991. Originally, involved in
the huge relief operation, the ICRC now is involved in many
other projects including work on water and sanitation and health
center rehabilitation projects. They also operate an orthopaedic
center for mine victims and other amputees in Erbil.