Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, March 29, 2003

Reader Maurice points out that Lateline's report of 25 March on the lack of clean water in Basra:

Over one million people are facing a humanitarian catasrophe in the southern city of Basra. Coalition forces are still encountering sharp resistance in and around Iraq's second largest city and the fighting's made it impossible, so far, to establish a safe corridor for aid. Hundreds of thousands of residents are now living without electicity or clean water.

neglected to mention the cause:

The situation in Basra is that the most serious, immediate requirement is water. As of yesterday, the principal responder was the International Committee of the Red Cross. The United States, through the State Department, has contributed $10 million toward their international appeal. Other countries have contributed, as well. A team of British soldiers has secured the water pumping station, which had apparently been shut down by the Ba'athist party, who shut down the water system in the city, by cutting off the electrical supply for the plant.

I should point out that the information from the State briefing came one day after the Lateline report.

Do you think it would have made any difference if it had come out one day before?