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Crisis easing in Basra

 An emergency response Team led by CAFOD staff to Az Zubayr on the outskirts of Basra has found life in the town beginning to return to normal. On earlier visits the team reported that the security situation in the area was precarious and met many civilians desperate for supplies of clean water. However, on Sunday they found Az Zubayr both calm and well supplied with food, water and medicine. "While we saw no coalition patrols in the town during the day, the atmosphere in the town was calm and people were going about their daily business. The town's market was well stocked with food and local people confirmed that the town's water supply was restored although the electricity supply is still erratic," said CAFOD's Emergency officer, Alistair Dutton, who is based in Kuwait City. "Looting has been a serious problem in the town over the last few days but now seems under control in most areas. However the director of the local hospital told me that he was still worried about looters and so had recruited a team of over 40 volunteers to patrol the hospital at night." It was only just ten days ago that the Emergency Response Team raised concerns with the British Army over the distribution of clean water in Umm Qasr. However while Az Zubayr seems to be returning to normality there remain serious access problems for aid agencies in many other areas of Iraq.