Sewage Soaks Baghdad Slum

Infrastructure remains sub-standard in much of Iraq
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2008 2:03 PM CST
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Edgardo Acevedo walks across a sewage covered street during a routine US army patrol in the Al Islah Al Serai neighborhood, northwestern Mosul, on Monday, Nov. 17, 2008.    (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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(Newser) – Residents of the Sadr City slum of Baghdad have come to accept raw sewage, bubbling to the surface from broken pipes, as a part of daily life, Bloomberg reports. And Sadr City is hardly an oddity—despite 6 years and billions of American dollars, much of Iraq still lacks reliable electricity and running water.

Although Iraq’s central government is flush with oil revenue, bureaucracy has hobbled a systemic overhaul, and it parcels out cash for step-by-step repairs only, the director of the US Government Accountability Office said. For Sadr City, government incompetence may be only part of the problem: Many residents are devotees of Moqtada al-Sadr, radical cleric and rival of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, so the officials “just don’t send money our way,” says a district council chairman.