International companies evacuate staff from Iraq
Thursday April 22, 4:12 pm ET
BAGHDAD, April 22, 2004 (Summary of Reuters Article) - Emboldened Iraqi insurgents are forcing international contractors to evacuate staff from the country, which is damaging reconstruction efforts, officials and businessmen said. One hundred U.S. citizens working in the electricity industry, including employees for General Electric, had left the country. British firm Foster Wheeler, which won an oil contract in Iraq last month, had stopped sending employees to the country. Bechtel Corp. was rebasing a number of workers in neighboring countries. Halliburton decided not to evacuate employees but to restrict foreign employees to their bases until the violence subsides. "We are on schedule," said Amy Burns, a spokeswoman for the Programme Management Office, which manages around $8 billion of U.S.-funded rebuilding projects. Burns said all the companies that were awarded contracts this year have set up in Iraq despite the worsening security. Foster Wheeler was the only company that had delayed sending additional staff to Iraq, she added. The U.S. sent $18.4 billion to Iraq last year to help rebuild Iraq. A further $15 billion of non-U.S. reconstruction pledges are expected.