BAGHDAD – Last week in Sadr City, the local council awaited a shipment from the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, destined for poor refugees within the densely populated Baghdad district. Trucks carrying a variety of supplies, from food to clothing, were expected.
When they arrived, council members were shocked, according to a source within the council. Though they had been told that thousands of dollars had been spent on the supplies, what arrived was much less than expected, and of poor quality. Most of what the shipment consisted of were thin, scratchy, grey woolen blankets – of little use in the sweltering summer in Baghdad. Many smelled of mold. Among the other supplies delivered were a selection of children’s shoes and 25 boxes of canned tuna.
Sadr City officials had been expecting considerable supplies to assist up to hundreds of families. The idea of calling for an investigation was spoken of, into the possibility that funds had been intercepted by Displacement and Migration Ministry officials, who had ordered the cheapest supplies possible (a form of corruption not unheard of within Iraq). The decision was made to keep the shipment intact until inquiries could be made.
The next day, families arrived in droves, and were just as puzzled by the inadequate assistance as teh council members had been. Particular displeasure of the blankets was expressed.
Minister of Displacement and Migration, Abdul Rahman Sultan, did not return calls from Iraqslogger.
Members of Iraqslogger’s network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report, but choose to remain anonymous, for security reasons.