News: Civil Affairs Keeps the Water Flowing
Story and photo by Spc. Richard Vogt
138th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
DOHUK PROVINCE, Iraq (Jan. 23, 2006) " The 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion and the residents of Nerimerki and Tilisquif celebrated the completion of three water projects.
The successful completions are three more successes that underscore the positive changes that are happening in Iraq.
With help from Mr. Ziyad Abdullah, head of the Department of Water in the Dohuk Province, the 422nd was able to identify the needs of these villages.
In Nerimerki, villager's braved cold weather and strong winds to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "Really, they are very, very happy because for the first time in their lives they can get running water near their houses." said Mr. Shaka Thada, leader of the local non-governmental organization responsible for providing construction of the project.
Before completion of the project, villagers manually transported their water from about three kilometers away using donkeys. Now, an electric generator-pump pulls local river water through a filtration system, into a galvanized steel holding tank in the center of the village.
"We feel great to get this service," said Hommad Omar Hussein, a resident of 70 years. "We've had no water for 30 years, so this is a great occasion."
In Tilisquif, a group of about 75 people came out for their ribbon-cutting ceremony despite the rain and cold. Children held baskets of flowers and people smiled and gabbed while Mayor Basim Yjago and Maj. Calvin Robinson, commander, Company B, 422nd CA Bn., delivered speeches.
"We take great pleasure in providing this water source for you," said Maj. Robinson. "This is another step for you to rebuild your country. My team is proud and appreciative to be a part of this ceremony."
Continuing the mission of assisting the people of northern Iraq, the 422nd made a stop in the village of Behere, north of the village Tilisquif , where construction of a retention wall to trap run-off water from rain and snow was completed.
"The whole village will benefit," stated Mr. Abdullah, "Everybody's going to benefit. There's been a drought for the past couple of years, so it's good that we will have a steady supply of water. This water is good not just for farming, but also for tourism and recreation. We appreciate the help from civil affairs."
The Soldiers of the 422nd have been working with local leaders and the Department of Water to determine the needs of each community. After making the determination, the U.S. Army draws up a scope of work, puts the project up for a bid and then provides the funds to a local contractor to build the project.
As townspeople, Civil Affairs Soldiers and elected officials continue to communicate; Iraqi communities can enjoy a better lifestyle.