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Sun 5 Dec 2004 04:00 AM

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Iraq reconstruction under way

Iraq reconstruction efforts making headway, according to USAID report.

Iraq should receive more consistent electricity, according to USAID officials. Currently, electricity is available for 11 to 15 hours; that will go up to 18 hours per day.

US Agency for International Development administrator Andrew Natsios said power generation would rise from a daily average of 5,000 megawatts now to 5,500 to 6,000 megawatts by the middle of next year. The level before the US-led invasion was around 4,400 megawatts.

“Despite the insurgency in some areas of the country, our program is moving forward,” Natsios said at a State Department press conference.

He added that the insurgency was delaying reconstruction in the so-called Sunni Triangle in central Iraq, but in Shiite and Kurdish areas, which constituted 80% of the country, the security situation was not seriously disrupting work, according to news reports.

Natsios said more than 7,000 reconstruction projects were under way or had been completed, including roads, rail, bridges, airports, water treatment plants, sewage and schools.

“Our work in Iraq is the largest reconstruction project since the Marshall Plan,” he said, referring to the rebuilding of European nations after WWII.

The United States has spent US$3.6 billion in the past year of the US$18.4 billion that was approved by Congress for reconstruction.

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