Aid organizations and residents of Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood welcomed a weekend truce between Shia militiamen loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr and US-backed government forces, ending seven weeks of clashes that left daily life almost paralyzed since 25 March.
"We welcome and encourage any act, agreement and dialogue that helps end the bloodshed of Iraqis and helps aid organizations do their work properly in reaching all needy persons," said Basil al-Azawi, head of the Iraqi Commission for Civil Society Enterprises (ICCSE), a coalition of over 1,000 Iraqi non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
"The deteriorated security situation that Sadr City witnessed over the past seven weeks hindered all aid operations and, in our estimation, only 1 percent of the City's medical, food and public services needs are being met. There is a lot to be done," al-Azawi told IRIN.
Al-Azawi added that there are plans and programs to assist residents of Sadr City "but all these plans are still in theory as we are monitoring the situation on the ground fearing that this lull [in fighting] could be a fragile one".