Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Iraqis report food shortages in Fallujah


Iraqis still living in the city of Fallujah said Tuesday that conditions were deteriorating, with no electricity, food shortages and limited medical aid for the wounded.

"The situation in Fallujah is a tragedy," one resident, who gave his name as Ismail, said by telephone.

"People cannot reach the clinics or the hospital and there are many wounded people. Most people are staying inside their houses. The fighting is heavy," he said.

Although most of the population of 300,000 has fled the city in recent weeks, tens of thousands of civilians are thought to have stayed behind. Under the terms of a curfew imposed on Monday they cannot leave their homes.

The city's main hospital was the first target captured in the operation and there were reports Tuesday that another medical clinic had been destroyed in bombing. Once the attack began, power was cut off to the city and some residents said the water supply had also been cut.

"The Americans have entered areas right in the center of town and there they fought with the mujahidin," said the man, who spoke from al-Joulan neighborhood, an insurgent strongpoint in the northwest.

"There are a lot of people dead who I saw with my own eyes," he said.

Another resident, Fadril al-Badrani, a correspondent for Reuters and the BBC, said the artillery and bombing had been intense.

"Every minute, hundreds of bombs and shells are exploding," he said. "The north of the city is in flames. I can also see fire and smoke. Fallujah has become like hell."

He said shops were closed and food supplies were limited. Roads were cratered by the bombardments and most people stayed in their homes.

"Electricity is cut off because of damage to the main power station from the bombardment. The water supply has been cut off too," he said.

"People, particularly children and women, tend to stay at home, fearing being mistaken for a military target. Doctors say medical supplies at the main hospital, which has been in US hands since Sunday, are low," he said.

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