Monday, July 18, 2005

Grazie Italia

If you can, take time to read Chrenkoff's Good News From Iraq, Part 31. It's huge and inspiring. You'll be particularly impressed by the work of my favorite non-Anglo nation, Italy.

Hospital

As insurgents continue the upsurge in attacks in Baghdad, the Italian hospital there is one of the few foreign hospitals continuing to treat Iraqi citizens, despite the deteriorating security situation and the incidents of foreigners being kidnapped. The hospital director, Dr Donato D'Agostino, of the Italian Red Cross, told Adnkronos International (AKI) that "the organization was set up in Baghdad in April 2003 with Italian Red Cross employees as well as Iraqi support staff." Since then it has treated 21,000 gravely ill people and 11,000 emergency cases.

Medical Assistance

A flight carrying a group of 50 Iraqis, including 13 people requiring bone-marrow transplants, their relatives and donors, on Friday left Baghdad for Rome, Italy where they will receive free medical treatment as part of an Italian government-sponsored programme...

During the programme's first phase, Iraqi patients will be treated by the Italy-based Mediterranean Institute of Haematology, while in subsequent phases, Iraqi doctors and other medical workers will receive training in Italy.

In term of the agreement, the Italy will support the creation of bone-marrow transplant facilities at hospitals in Baghdad, Mosul and Nassiriya.

Infrastructure

An inauguration ceremony has been held to open a bridge built by the Italian contingent in the Dhi Qar governorate in the south of Iraq where the force is based. The iron bridge - which is around 60 meters long and four and a half MITREs high - crosses a stretch of public water known as 'Saddam's river'.

Ahmad al-Shaykh, the vice governor of Dhi Qar, told Adnkronos International (AKI) at the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by the commander of the Italian force in Iraq, that "the bridge, built in a remote agricultural area, responds to the needs of farmers, by making it easier for them to sell their produce."

"This project is part of a series of civil initiatives the Italian forces have offered the city in all sectors," he explained. The Italian troops also defused two bombs that had been planted close to where the inauguration ceremony was being held.

The Italian contingent in Iraq has also offered to pay for a green belt of trees which will be planted around the new Dhi Qar University, which is to be built in the western part of Nassiriya. The rector of the university, Riyad Shantah, told AKI: "the green belt will be ten kilometers long and will surround the university buildings to protect them from the dust of the city, which is a particular problem during the summer."

He went on to add: "next year the university has decided to open a department for the teaching of the Italian language in the arts faculty and another faculty in the Jabaysh area in the lake district, which will be completely funded and equipped by Italy."

Great decision to teach the beautiful Italian language.