Bracing against the cold in Muthanna
March 6, 2010
- Soldiers of 1-77 Armor hand out cold-weather supplies in southern Iraq's Muthanna Province
- Task Force Pathfinder assisted over 1,000 families from the province's four districts
Much of the population of Muthanna Province faces serious hunger and health issues that only worsen during the winter months.
As this winter approached, the Muthanna Provincial Council asked the U.S. State Department's Provincial Reconstruction Team to help provide essential supplies and aid for their people in need.
Company A, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, Task Force Pathfinder, assigned to assist the Muthanna PRT's reconstruction efforts, responded.
The resulting humanitarian aid project took "Able" Co.'s 1st Platoon to Samawah, the capital - and most populated city - of the province, to provide immediate assistance to roughly 1,000 families from the province's four districts.
These necessary supplies included 17 basic essential items such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, lentils, juice, chicken, towels and blankets to help sustain them through the rest of the winter.
The event, publicized as a "New Year Food Basket Give-Away," was coordinated with help from the partnering Al Rafidayn Foundation for Civil Education, a non-governmental organization, and various locally elected district council members and mayors.
Due to the efforts of the provincial officials and the PRT, the day was well-structured, which proved vital as the first 400 people showed up in a large crowd with coupons in-hand, ready to receive the promised items.
The coupons were distributed by the local leaders to the families who were the most in need as a method of ensuring the right people received the goods. The Samawah District Council chairman, Bassam Rawak Hedad, addressed his people and gave instructions on how the items would be distributed.
The women were permitted to file through first, followed by the elderly and disabled, and finally the men.
As the crowd came closer to the distribution point, they were greeted by Hedad and were encouraged to ask any questions they had for him. The Soldiers of 1st Platoon served as helpers for the councilman's employees and were cordially told "thank you" in broken English as the people were handed their winter care packages.
At least one of the Soldiers said it was nice to see the results of the taskforce's efforts.
Within 45 minutes, all 400 Samawah residents had received their promised items and 1st Plt. began preparations for the next 600 expected to arrive from the Khiddr, Rumaitha and Sowaira districts.
"The positive relationship between us, the PRT and the Provincial Government has allowed the company to play an important part towards aiding and rebuilding Iraq," said 1st Lt. Nathaniel Crawford, of Lorton, Va., Able Co.'s executive officer, following the event's completion.
He said such events are the direct result of the hard work of those involved in these growing partnerships, and they serve as another method to show the Iraqi people their government is there to help them at all times.