Veterans to go to Iraq to Help Rebuild Water Treatment Facilities
United States military Veterans will
go to Iraq to help rebuild water treatment facilities that were either
destroyed by U.S. and British bombers, or rendered inoperable by the
allies-led economic sanctions.
Veterans for Peace, Inc., a non-profit educational and humanitarian
organisation with a long record of accomplishments since its creation
in 1985, is proud to launch The Iraq Water Project. Veterans for Peace,
Inc. is an organisation based in Washington, DC that holds 81 chapters
nation-wide as well as several international affiliations. It is an
accredited NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) with the United Nations
through their Department of Public Information.
Waterborne diseases account for most of the child fatalities caused
by sanctions (at least 4,000 per month under the age of 5 years old).
Under The Iraq Water Project, Veterans for Peace (VFP) will restore
water-cleansing capabilities and provide 10 years of maintenance to
four water-treatment facilities located in a suburb of Basrah (a major
city in the Southeast) called Abul Khaseeb. This area has been ravaged
by 2 wars, sanctions, and ongoing bombings. Furthermore, it has been
virtually poisoned by the after-effects of depleted uranium weapons
and ammunition use. The population in the region that will be serviced
by The Iraq Water Project totals between 65,000-70,000 people. Funds
to be raised for repair are between $110,000-$125,000.
In an unprecedented effort to further expose the devastating effects
of US-led sanctions on Iraq, two teams of former US service people
- Vietnam, Korean War, and WW II veterans, as well as many Gulf War
veterans - will enter Iraq. They then will physically help rebuild
these four water facilities.
It is the intent of The Iraq Water Project for the public to see US
service veterans working alongside Iraqi engineers. The first team
of veterans is scheduled to depart the US on October 2.
The Iraq Water Project is a partnership with Life for Relief and Development,
another non-profit organisation. Life is the only relief organisation
to have dual permission from both the Iraqi government and the US
Treasury Department, to do relief work in Iraq. It is they who will
work out the logistics inside Iraq.
The project is led by Co-Chairperson Fredy Champagne; VFP Board of
Directors member and Vietnam veteran. In 1988, Mr. Champagne created
a similar but larger program in 1988 called the Veterans - Vietnam
Restoration Project (VVRP). The VVRP provided American veterans and
others with opportunities to return to Vietnam for humanitarian service.
The VVRP operate(d) under the premise that returning to Vietnam, working
directly on community projects and returning to former war zones where
they served, helps veterans heal the legacy of war.
The other Co-Chairperson is Edilith Eckart, long-time noted peace
activist and recent winner of Physicians for Social Responsibility's
"Broad Street Pump" award. Ms. Eckart has been a long-standing
member of VFP's Board of Directors. She now devotes most of her energies
to The Iraq Water Project.
The Project Coordinator for The Iraq Water Project is accomplished
New York City Playwright Michael John Carley. Mr. Carley is also VFP's
United Nations NGO Representative, for whom he has worked in Bosnia
and Iraq, among others, since 1991. Michael John Carley email@example.com
Fredy Champagne, Co-Chair, Iraq Water Project, P O Box 532,
Bayside, CA. 95524 Ph/Fax 707.943.1874
Member, Veterans for Peace, Inc. Board of Directors
Founder, Veterans - Vietnam Restoration Project