The US reconstruction programme

21 March 2003
Extensive details of the planned post-conflict reconstruction work in Iraq are found in the request for proposal documents issued to a select handful of US contractors. MEED lists key aspects:

Umm Qasr port

Immediate:US Army will remove mines and booby traps before handing the port over to the reconstruction contractor and port administration contractor.

Two weeks:Contractor assesses port facilities, verifys channel and berth depth and assesses freight handling equipment

Eight weeks: Develop port to allow 50,000-tonne ships to unload containers and pallets, accommodate three berths, and facilitate an unloading capacity of five days per ship.

60 days:Arrange for arrival of dredge and commencement of work on the channel and berths.

90 days: Install three vacuvators, six cranes and small equipment, ensure six berths are returned to operational condition.

120 days:six berths in operational condition 75,000-tonne ships can dock at one berth, and unloading capacity per ship will be 72 hours.

150 days:Functioning local dredges, remove wrecks from the channel, ensure nine berths are in operational condition, and an unloading capacity per ship that does not exceed 48 hours.

180 days: The port will allow for docking of 75,000 tonne-ships and six-12 berths in operational condition for bulk and other cargo

One Year: Twelve berths restored to a condition that permits the handling of containerised, palletised and bulk cargo.


Two weeks: Complete airport assessments phased to correspond with access to the facilities.

30 days:Begin repairs to runways and other critical facilities.

Six months:Infrastructure at first international airport to be reconstructed to handle day and night international freight and passenger services.

One year:Infrastructure of two international airports sufficient for freight and passenger services. International commercial air links re-established.

Electric power systems

Immediate: Restore and maintain electric supply to health facilities and water supply systems. Up to 500 generator sets required for emergency supply.

Six months:Establish reliable electric supply to 40 per cent of previously served population Likely to require repair of 15 per cent of HV [high-voltage] and LV [low-voltage] distribution network, up to 50 substations and five generation plants.

One year: Generating capacity restored to 75 per cent of the pre-1991 level of 9000 kW and up to 110 substations and 10 generation facilities rehabilitated.

Roads and bridges

Immediate:Road and bridge repairs to establish reliable transport links in support of humanitarian relief and reconstruction activities

Six months: Establish clear and open roads, and key bridges repaired or bypassed, to reopen half the economically important roads network, estimated at up to 2,230 kilometres of roads and 100 bridges.

One year: Ensure all economically important road network links, estimated at 4,476 kilometres, will be clear and open to regular traffic.

Rail networks

Immediate: Establish a functioning rail transport of bulk grain and fuel. Work will involve repair of track bed, stations, locomotives and other essential infrastructure.

Water, wastewater and solid waste management systems

Iraq has 250 water treatment plants that service 12.9 million people, 14 wastewater treatment plants and 1,250 wastewater pumping stations. According to USAID: 'All systems are currently operating at a highly degraded level of performance, and will likely suffer further degradation as a result of the conflict.'

First month:Commence repairs of water infrastructure in 10 urban areas

60 days: Focus water sector activities on ensuring the provision of potable water supplies to the population of Southern Iraq.

Six months:Repair and rehabilitate critical water treatment, pumping and distribution systems in 15 urban areas

One year:Restore potable water supply in all urban centres. By the end of the programme approximately 45 urban water systems will be repaired. Environmentally sound solid waste disposal established. In approximately 10 urban centres wastewater collection systems will be repaired and treatment systems restored to at least primary treatment.

Health facilities

Iraq has 270 general hospitals, five medical college hospitals, 33,000 hospital beds and 995 civilian primary medical care centres. 9,400 physicians service a population of 25 million.

One year: The reconstruction contractor must repair one referral hospital in each major city, 100 general hospitals throughout the country and selected Ministry of Health buildings. The aim is to deliver basic health needs such as immunisations, maternal health, treatment of major childhood illnesses and emergency and primary response to illness and trauma. Within each referral hospital the contractor must establish the infrastructure to support advanced medical and surgical services for critical cases.

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