Sunday, February 3, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 3 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, More Electricity Projects Improving Lives in Dhi Qar Province.

DHI QAR — Electricity for any country means prosperity for its people; improvement to their lives and more opportunities for employment. In Iraq, a country that long has suffered from a serious lack of electricity production, a gleam of a light for a child in a dark night is a gleam for a new future.

To avoid the darkness of winter, many Iraqis buy oil lanterns. And for many Iraqis, electric flash lights are very important if their private generators run out of fuel. Others have an electrical connection to generators run by local businesses to feed them with power when the supply from electrical plants shuts down.

“There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.” said Rebecca Wingfield, project engineer with the Adder Area office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We are trying to improve Iraqi lives. It bothers us, it hurts us and saddens our hearts to see and hear about the severity of the conditions that some Iraqi families endure. We are here to help.”

To bolster the local electricity supply, the Corps has awarded a $1.54 million project to build, supply, install, test and commission a double 33kV electrical feeder line of the Al Nasiriyah powerline, according to Taha Jabber, an Iraqi engineer with USACE Gulf Region South district.

The project includes towers, cable and accessories necessary to connect the Old Nasiriyah substation and Al Shamiyah substation, the engineer said.

“The Nassiriyah powerline project will rehabilitate electrical systems in the Nassiriyah area that supply electricity to the Al-Shamiyah substation,” said Wingfield. She said the project is funded by the Provincial Reconstruction Team funding source--Economic Support Funds from the State Department.

“Al-Shamiyah substation has only one critical feeder from the oil directorate substation, which is overloaded,” Wingfield said. “The project will provide the Ministry of Electricity with a more reliable and secure transmission network in the south of the country while supplying electricity to keep the oil refinery working.”

Al-Shamiyah city is located southeast of Nasiriyah city in Dhi Qar province in a rural area. This project will provide its people with more electricity and reduce blackouts. The project began last year and is now 15 percent complete. It is scheduled to be completed in May 2008.

“Electrical projects are important because they are a part of the basic infrastructure of the country,” said Wingfield. “Everyone wants to be able to feed and cloth and house his or her family. Electricity, water and sewer systems are the basics that are necessary for a stable society.

“If a person can’t provide basic services for his family then disease, malnourishment and death usually follow,” she continued. “People get desperate when they can’t provide for their families and that makes them unhappy and angry. Unhappy and angry people will become violent to try to get the services that they want, especially if they are egged on by insurgents.”