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Sat 5 Nov 2005 04:00 AM

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Reconstruction of Iraq is ‘too risky’

Report could spell the end of the line for projects after rising security costs in the country

Many reconstruction projects in Iraq could be mothballed because of rising security costs in the country, a report to the US Congress has warned.

Security costs now account for 25% of the US $30 billion appropriated by the US government for reconstruction projects in Iraq.

The report by special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, said that US contractors accounted for 120 of the 147 US civilians killed in Iraq since March 2003.

Apart from rising security costs, contractors have also been hit by project delays, cost overruns and the increasing cost of materials.

“When the US-led portion of Iraq’s reconstruction concludes, many planned projects will remain on the drawing board for execution by other funding sources,” the report says.

The report comes as the latest attack in the country last week claimed the lives of 12 Iraqi construction workers.

The report also revealed that the number of insurance death-claims filed during the three months to September by contractors from all countries rose by 82 — a 72% rise on the previous quarter.

The total number of non-Iraqi construction deaths between 11th March 2003 and 30th September 2005 stood at 412.

The number of death and injury claims filed with the US Department of Labor also increased by 24% on the last quarter.

Of 147 US civilians killed since the war began, 117 were killed as a result of ‘terrorist action’.

Three other deaths were classed as murders and the rest were blamed on either vehicle accidents or natural causes.

The report also refers to corruption in the country and reveals that an Iraqi audit of government contracts between June 2004 and February 2005 found that between $500 million and $1.27 billion in funds were lost because of ‘irregularities’.

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