Sunday, May 06, 2007

Yusufiyah infrastructure, hope improving

FOB YUSUFIYAH, Iraq – On a warm Thursday morning, the city of Yusufiyah was bustling with the business of daily life. The aroma of hot chai and falafel floated in the morning air. Children walked to school, merchants displayed their wares and elder residents enjoyed conversation and chai along the Yusufiyah River.
The town’s small café and market were filled with customers who were busy making their purchases for the week. Several months ago the market was nearly closed due to a terrorist truck bomb.
While on patrol, Civil Affairs Team 5 of Company A, 478th Civil Affairs Battalion and Tactical Psychological Operations Team 1481 noticed a change in Yusufiyah. There were signs of progress and employment everywhere.
Several projects have been completed recently. The sewage, water and electricity ministries have been proactively working with the Yusufiyah government to fix the sewer in Yusufiyah, repair the drinking water pipes and replace several transformers. The sewage ministry was able to secure 400 million Iraqi dinar to build a new administration building. The Yusufiyah beladiyah, the council which is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the local roads, recently completed a street cleaning project and has begun to build trash points for the residents of Yusufiyah.
“It is amazing to see the affect of the recent security improvements in Yusufiyah,” said Capt. Chris Sanchez, non-lethal operations coordinator for the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). “People have more confidence being out in public, and the government is becoming functional here. It is good to see that the various ministries are working for the benefit of the residents of the city. The ministries no longer have to work in fear of militia intimidation or terrorist attacks.”
Sanchez, a native of Los Angeles, Calif., has worked extensively with the civil affairs teams to bring stability to the area.
The progress is due to the security that is provided by the 4th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, the Yusufiyah Iraqi Police and the Soldiers of the 4-31 “Polar Bears,” Sanchez said.

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