Tuesday, November 20, 2007
by Ali al-Fadhily
Inter Press Service
"FALLUJAH - Three years after a devastating U.S.-led siege of the city, residents of Fallujah continue to struggle with a shattered economy, infrastructure, and lack of mobility.
The city that was routed in November 2004 is still suffering the worst humanitarian conditions under a siege that continues. Although military actions are down to the minimum inside the city, local and US authorities do not seem to be thinking of ending the agonies of the over 400,000 residents of Fallujah.
“You, people of the media, say things in Fallujah are good,” Mohammad Sammy, an aid worker for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Fallujah told IPS, “Then why don’t you come and live in this paradise with us? It is so easy to say things for you, isn’t it?”......
“This isolation has destroyed the economy of the city that was once one the best in Iraq,” Professor Mohammad Al-Dulaymi of Al-Anbar University told IPS. “All of the other cities in the province used to do their wholesale shopping in Fallujah, but now they have to find alternatives, leaving the cities businesses to starve,” he explained.
All of the residents interviewed by IPS were extremely angry with the media for recent reports that the situation in the city is good. Many refused to be quoted for different reasons......
Many residents told IPS that U.S.-backed Iraqi Police and Army personnel have detained people who have spoken to the media........
Fallujah General Hospital, situated across the Euphrates River from the city, is still functioning, but with a minimal number of specialist doctors and medical supplies. The only doctor who would speak to IPS did not want his name published.
“The manager of this hospital is a good man and he is trying hard to improve the services, but the Ministry of Health in Baghdad still treats us here as a bunch of terrorists. We are suffering both corruption from the ministry and ignorance about Al-Anbar Province from this (Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) administration,” he explained. “We do not have enough medicines, and the equipment brought to us by contractors is still in boxes and seems to be part of the corrupt contracts of the province. It is impossible to work under such conditions.”......."