Labour MP Tom Cox has tabled a written question asking the Government the following: (1) what assessment his Department has made of how many people have returned to live permanently in Fallujah since the recent military action in the city; and if he will make a statement; (2) how many people living in Fallujah have access to water and electricity; (3) how many hospitals are open and treating patients in Fallujah; and if he will make a statement; (4) how many schools in Fallujah are open and are teaching pupils; and if he will make a statement; (5) what recent visits have been made by officials from his Department to Fallujah; when each visit took place; what reports have been sent to him following such visits; and if he will make a statement.
Hilary Benn answered as follows: The Multi-National Force Iraq estimates that around 30,000 people have now returned to live in Fallujah. Safe drinking water is available to everyone living and working in Fallujah from standing water tanks which are filled daily. Bottled water is also available for all citizens at humanitarian assistance sites. Piped water supplies are being restored.
Reconstruction of power transmission and distribution is continuing. Mains electricity and street lighting have been reconnected in some areas. However, most residences are not connected. Power is being supplied to hospitals from stand-alone generators.
Fallujah general hospital and the Jordanian hospital on the outskirts of Fallujah are open and treating patients. Three primary care clinics and one mobile clinic are also in operation.
15 schools are open in Fallujah, with around 670 pupils as of 7 February. The Iraqi Ministry of Education is increasing efforts to publicise the opening of schools in order to encourage greater attendance.
DFID staff and consultants based in Baghdad have been visiting Fallujah regularly since military operations concluded, to participate in weekly co-ordination meetings and monitor the situation on the ground. The first meeting in Fallujah attended by DFID took place on 6 December and the most recent on 7 February. DFID humanitarian and conflict advisers have also visited the city. Reporting and analysis based on these visits are provided regularly to London.
This exchange appears in Hansard for 10 February.