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Sarajevo faces almost certain outbreaks of dysentery, hepatitis and possibly typhoid because its water and sewer systems have been severely damaged by the war, a U.N. expert said Saturday.

Sewers clog up because of frequent water outages, and they are likely to flood when spring rains begin, contaminating groundwater that will then seep into the municipal water supply, said Phil Casey of UNICEF, a Briton who has been assessing the water system.The besieged city's water pumps have been idled for much of the nearly one-year war by shelling that has knocked out the electric system.

Snipers repeatedly have targeted water-line repair crews, and workers have not been allowed to repair sewers lines, possibly because they are used for covert military movements, Casey said.

Serbs control 97 percent of Sarajevo's water supply because the main pumping station is in the Serb-held town of Ilidza on the western edge of the city. The station is shut down, and the entire city must rely on three wells, Casey said.

Up to 20,000 people a day flock to the busiest of a handful of communal taps connected to these wells, filling plastic jugs that they carry home by hand, on sleds or slung over bicycle handle bars.

Casey said many houseolds make do with only about 4 gallons of water daily for cooking, washing and bathing.

In normal times, the city's water system provides 105 gallons of water per person each day, Casey said.

Repair crews are trying to maintain what is left of the water system, he said, but 18 of the city's 50 repair workers have been killed by sniper or shell fire.

"If it goes on like this, we've got nobody left," Casey said. "They're always working under sniper fire."

Among the main health dangers, he said, were dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.

Bosnia had 3,500 cases of dysentery last year, and 12 children at Sarajevo's orphanage now have hepatitis A, he said.

There are no known cases of typhoid in Sarajevo at the moment, but health officials are worried this could change, he said. Last year, there was an outbreak of the disease in the Bosnian town of Jajce.

Typhoid, which leads to rapid dehydration and diarrhea, can be fatal.