This page was
archived on 13 August 2003
Situation in Iraq and Post-war issues
current news articles
Background to the humanitarian situation
Reports (pre-war) on the possible humanitarian
consequences of war in Iraq
briefing - 10 Demands (7 May 2003) +
briefing - Profit and Loss (1 May 2003) -
the humanitarian crisis in Iraq
and Minds: Aid and reconstruction in Iraq (16 April
a CASI briefing
Responsibilities of the occupying powers (16 April 2003)
the Wilderness briefing on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq
Principles and the Conflict in Iraq -
a useful briefing paper from the Overseas Development Institute
covering humanitarian priciple, legal obligations, and particular
current news articles
Struggle to restore basic services -
15 May 2003
Disease outbreak reported: Cholera in Iraq
- Update from WHO - 14
Iraq survey finds slide in child health
- 14 May 2003
in the Wilderness call to end sanctions and occupation
- 10 May 2003
military in Baghdad bans American peace campaigners from
Palestine Hotel press centre after revelations of humanitarian
planning failure- 18
Bomb before you buy: What is being planned
in Iraq is not reconstruction but robbery -
Naomi Klein - 14 Apr 03
on, and still no water. Now doctors fear an epidemic
- The Guardian - 14 Apr 03
Latest news from International Committee of the Red Cross
staff in the field
- 13 Apr 03
continues, US hires controversial company to police
- 13 Apr 03
Looting, lawlessness and humanitarian consequences
- Amnesty International - 11 Apr 03
under fire - Amnesty
International - 8 Apr 03
'terrible' in Baghdad hospital
- Red Cross - 7 Apr 03
aid agencies paint grim picture of massive relief tasks
in Iraq -
7 Apr 03
of mines will litter Iraq, expert says -
7 Apr 03
Studies of Depleted Uranium in Iraq
- 6 Apr 03
'The West does not understand Iraqis'
- 3 Apr 03
Nations Population Fund warns of risks of war to pregnant
- 21 Mar 03
Iraq: Struggle to restore basic
UN OCHA Integrated Regional Information Network, 15 May
BAGHDAD, 15 May (IRIN) - More
than a month after war's end, hundreds of thousands of Baghdad
residents are still struggling to survive without basic
services. Electricity remains intermittent, clean drinking
water is unavailable to large numbers of people, and authorities
are barely coping with sewage disposal.
In the Baghdad suburb of Adamiya, the director of electric
power distribution, Muthanna al-Ubaydi, said the 30,000
people in his sector were now receiving only about six hours
of electricity a day. For two weeks in April there had been
no power at all.
reported: Cholera in Iraq - Update 2
World Health Organisation - 14 May 2003
The national public health laboratory in Kuwait has confirmed
the presence of vibrio cholerae, the bacterium which causes
cholera, in 4 out of the 38 samples which the World Health
Organization (WHO) team in Basra collected last week. (see
previous report )
Another 18 cases have been clinically and laboratory confirmed
from three hospitals in Basra. WHO warned the national and
international health community as soon as cholera was first
identified by hospital staff in Basra last week in order
to put in place immediate containment measures.
Iraq survey finds slide in
UNICEF Finds That Acute Malnutrition Has Doubled in Past
Year - 14 May
Two months after the start of the Iraq war, UNICEF has called
for urgent action to halt what it believes is the plummeting
nutritional status of Iraqi children.
UNICEF today released troubling findings
from a rapid nutrition assessment undertaken in Baghdad,
which has found that acute malnutrition rates in children
under five have nearly doubled since a previous survey in
"We can assume that the situation
is as bad if not much worse in other urban centres throughout
Iraq," said the UNICEF Representative in Iraq, Carel
De Rooy. "We knew going into the war that Iraqi children
were poorly nourished. These findings make clear that not
enough is being done to turn the situation around. Instead
it has gotten worse."
The UNICEF rapid nutrition assessment
was confined to Baghdad because of general insecurity throughout
the country. Nevertheless, it shows that 7.7 per cent of
children under age five are suffering from acute malnutrition,
compared with last year's figure of 4 per cent. Acute malnutrition
signifies that a child is actually wasting away.
Voices in the Wilderness call
to end sanctions and occupation - 10 May 2003
Today the U.S. presents to the UN its resolution, calling
for a lifting of sanctions and further the appropriation
and authority of Iraqi oil sales to be dictated solely by
the US and UK. To our dismay, and to further devastation
for Iraqi people, their struggle to regain control of their
resources and right to live in peace is once again dictated
by a power that does not represent them.
Bomb before you buy - What is being
planned in Iraq is not reconstruction but robbery
Naomi Klein in The Guardian - April 14, 2003
On April 6, deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz spelled
it out: there will be no role for the UN in setting up an
interim government in Iraq. The US-run regime will last
at least six months, "probably longer than that". And by
the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government,
the key economic decisions about their country's future
will have been made by their occupiers. "There has to be
an effective administration from day one," Wolfowitz said.
"People need water and food and medicine, and the sewers
have to work, the electricity has to work. And that's coalition
The process of how they will get all this infrastructure
to work is usually called "reconstruction". But American
plans for Iraq's future economy go well beyond that. Rather
than rebuilding, the country is being treated as a blank
slate on which the most ideological Washington neo-liberals
can design their dream economy: fully privatised, foreign-owned
and open for business.
Three weeks on, and still no water.
Now doctors fear an epidemic Lack of security holds up agencies
by Ewen MacAskill in Basra
The Guardian Monday April 14, 2003
Doctors in Iraq's second city, Basra, warned yesterday of
an epidemic as a majority of the 1.3 million residents were
still without safe drinking water three weeks after the
war began. Attempts to restore the supply have failed, despite
hopes expressed in the first week that it would take a matter
Help from aid agencies is only trickling in. Tamara al-Rifai,
the representative of the International Committee of the
Red Cross based in Kuwait, said looting was partly to blame.
Lack of security was making it difficult for aid agencies
to enter the town, and looters had taken pipes before they
could be installed to help distribution. "The fact that
we have gone a few steps back makes it even more serious,"
she said. Uday Abdul Bakri, general surgeon at the 600-bed
Basra general hospital, said the hospital was dealing with
many diarrhoea cases and the risk of water-acquired diseases,
such as cholera and dysentery, was high. "I think there
will be an epidemic," he said. The shortage of drinking
water is a problem across southern Iraq.
There is huge resentment in Basra against the British forces
because of the lack of water and electricity. Residents
also blame them for failing to control the looters. One
resident in the centre of Basra said: "Bush bad. Blair bad.
They destroyed our water and electricity." Another, Axad
Toblanid, 50, an engineer, said: "We are unhappy with this
freedom. We have no water. We have complained to the British
army about this but they are not doing anything. "It is
not safe. The British army say, 'we are not policemen.'
It is the rule of international law that any town where
the army is in control must protect us, but they don't."
Iraq: Latest news from International
Committee of the Red Cross staff in the field
13 Apr 2003
BAGHDAD (12 April)
The security situation in the Iraqi capital is still volatile,
with some areas safer than others. Extreme caution is required
when moving around. Curfew has been imposed from dusk to
The widespread looting of public premises and especially
of medical facilities and water supply systems is having
an increasing impact on health care. The consequences of
acts of vandalism are becoming more and more visible. There
are few health professionals left in most hospitals visited
so far. Key utilities (generators, AC units, medical equipment,
etc.) and other medical or technical equipment that are
so vital for these hospitals to resume work are lacking.
Yarmouk Hospital, on the outskirts of Al Mansour district,
is typical of the critical situation facing hospitals in
Baghdad: it was hit directly by shells during the conflict
and the third floor is totally destroyed. A few surgeons
spent the last days and nights of the war inside the building.
Corpses were piled in the entrance hall before being buried
in the hospital grounds. Courageous doctors and staff managed
to salvage half of the equipment while looters were carrying
off furniture. Although the staff present are clearly committed
to saving their hospital and getting it back to work, this
will be possible only when a minimum of security is guaranteed.
As looting continues, US hires controversial
company to police
Arjan El Fassed, Electronic Iraq
13 April 2003
Electronic Iraq rounds up recent coverage about the hiring
of controversial company Dyncorp with a multi-million-dollar
contract to police post-Saddam Iraq and looks into the history
of human rights abuses in the company.
Iraq: Looting, lawlessness and
Amnesty International 11 April 2003
Widespread looting and arson. Lawlessness and reprisal attacks.
Water shortages and power cuts. Overwhelmed and ransacked
hospitals. Disorder hampering humanitarian relief agencies.
This is the grim reality facing millions of Iraqi civilians
in areas newly under the control of US/UK forces. As one
Iraqi told a BBC reporter on 10 April, "No authority now.
No law now. No anything. Thieves anywhere."
US and UK authorities were repeatedly warned before the
conflict by Amnesty International and others that there
was a grave risk of widespread disorder, humanitarian crisis
and human rights abuses, including revenge attacks, once
the Iraqi government's authority was removed. Now that US/UK
forces are occupying substantial parts of Iraq, they must
live up to their specific responsibilities under international
human rights and humanitarian law to protect the rights
of Iraqi people.
Referring to the scenes of looting, the Secretary-General
of the United Nations, Kofi Annan is reported to have said:
"Obviously law and order must be a major concern ... I think
the (Security) Council has also reaffirmed that the Hague
Regulation and the Geneva Conventions [on the duties of
occupying powers] apply to this conflict and that the coalition
has the responsibility for the welfare of the people in
this area. And I am sure that will be respected".
Amnesty International calls on the occupying forces to:
- take urgent measures to enforce law and order in areas
under their control, specifically by preventing acts of
pillage, destruction and violence to people;
- ensure the provision of food, water and medical supplies
to people living in areas under their control;
- maintain medical and hospital services, public health
Iraq: Civilians under fire
08 April 2003, Amnesty International
International (AI) is deeply concerned about the mounting
toll of civilian casualties in Iraq and the reported use
of cluster bombs by US forces in heavily populated areas.
Despite repeated assurances from US and UK authorities that
they would do everything possible to protect the Iraqi people,
since 20 March hundreds of civilians have reportedly been
killed. Some have been victims of cluster bombs; some have
died in attacks in disputed circumstances. AI urges all
the warring parties to make the safety of Iraqi civilians
a top priority.
particular, AI calls for:
an immediate moratorium on the use of cluster bombs by US/UK
forces and on other inherently indiscriminate weapons;
an immediate end to unlawful tactics by Iraqi forces that
prompt and impartial investigations into civilian deaths,
and the use of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding
Commission to investigate incidents of alleged serious violations
of international humanitarian law.
scenes at al-Hilla's hospital on 1 April showed that something
terrible had happened. The bodies of the men, women and
children -- both dead and alive -- brought to the hospital
were punctured with shards of shrapnel from cluster bombs.
Videotape of the victims was judged by Reuters and Associated
Press editors as being too awful to show on television.
Independent newspaper journalists reported that the pictures
showed babies cut in half and children with their limbs
blown off. Two lorry-loads of bodies, including women in
flowered dresses, were seen outside the hospital.
See the full
text of this report.
Conditions 'terrible' in
Baghdad hospital - Red Cross
07 Apr 2003 16:13:00 GMT
By Samia Nakhoul
ICRC Spokesman Roland Huguenin-Benjamin told Reuters: "Surgeons
have been working round the clock for the past two days
and most are exhausted. Conditions are terrible.
"You could hear very close range explosions. The windows
are rattling from the thud of explosions. We saw a lot of
ambulances and private cars, bringing in casualties."
Doctors at Kindi said the hospital had taken in four dead
and 176 wounded in the last 24 hours. The picture was similar
at Kadhimiya hospital in the north of the city, where doctors
told Reuters correspondent Hassan Hafidh that 18 dead and
141 wounded had been brought in since Sunday.
Many patients said they were wounded by bombing as they
tried to flee northwards by car on the road to the city
of Mosul. One woman said she lost her parents and five siblings.
CLEAN WATER A PRIORITY
"If the others have as many (casualties as Kindi), it is
problematic. Tomorrow, we will try to go to others," Huguenin-Benjamin
said. He said hospitals were now relying on generators and
that getting clean water to patients was a priority.
Power outages in many parts of Baghdad in recent days had
compounded health concerns because they cut electricity
to hospitals and water treatment plants.
On Sunday, grids feeding Baghdad were mostly not working
and less than 20 percent of households were receiving limited
power during the night, the ICRC said in its latest report
UN aid agencies paint grim picture of massive relief
tasks in Iraq
United Nations 7 April 2003
a grim picture of hardship and horror, United Nations relief
agencies today underscored the massive humanitarian tasks
awaiting them in war-shattered Iraq.
WHO was also extremely concerned
about the psychological impact of conflict, fear, and the
loss of family members or neighbours on Iraqi children,
Ms. Chaib said. The physical and psychological damage of
conflict could take years to heal, and are likely to leave
many permanent scars.
But Ms. Belmonte warned: "With
each passing day, as the conflict continues, a humanitarian
clock is ticking - it's a question of access, it's a question
of distribution, it's a question of time, and it's a question
of the lives of Iraqi children.
United Nations Population Fund warns of risks of war
to pregnant women
Staff from the United Natians Population Fund have reported
that many women in the past couple of months have had the
birth of their babies induced because they fear the impact
of the war on the health of themselves and their babies.
Women who are as little as 7 months pregnant have been having
cesarean sections. However, there has been little special
care available in hospitals and women have taken their babies
home as they have been afraid to leave them in the hospitals.
There are about one million pregnant
women in Iraq. The lack of electricity and water in hospitals
and the chaos in hospitals now makes the risky process of
childbirth infinately more difficult. Increasing miscarriages
and early labour are being reported.
article - United Nations Population
Fund warns of risks of war to pregnant women (21 March
2003) and listen to an interview
with UNFPR spokeswoman on Woman's Hour (8 April 2003)
of mines will litter Iraq, expert says
07 Apr 2003 14:22:40 GMT
By Rachel Sanderson ROME, April 7 (Reuters)
The plight of Iraq would be more comparable to Cambodia,
where nearly half of villages are still either known or
suspected to be littered with mines or unexploded bombs
more than 20 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.
"It will take five to 10 years to clear the high priority
areas in Iraq...for people to be able to move about freely
and to engage in the main economic activities,"
Landmining by U.S.-led forces could not be ruled out. He
said some 90,000 mines have been shipped to the Gulf area
but added that there was no evidence so far that they had
"The United States has not produced an uproar (about the
use of landmines) because it reserves the right to use anti-personnel
mines in this conflict," he said.
Unexploded ordnance used by U.S. and British forces, in
particular from cluster bombs, would also leave behind dangers
for Iraqi civilians and aid workers.
And civilians maimed by a landmines were unlikely to receive
much relief with poor healthcare services and a shortage
those qualified to make prosthetic limbs, Goose said.
UNEP Recommends Studies of Depleted
Uranium in Iraq
6 April 2003
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is recommending
that a scientific assessment of sites targeted with weapons
containing depleted uranium (DU) be conducted in Iraq as
soon as conditions permit.
Although our assessments
to date, under conditions prevailing in the Balkans, have
concluded that DU contamination does not pose any immediate
risks to human health or the environment, the fact remains
that depleted uranium is still an issue of great concern
for the general public, said UNEP Executive Director
Mr Toepfer added that UNEP stands
ready to conduct early environmental field studies in Iraq:
Given the overall environmental concerns during the
conflict, and the fact that the environment of Iraq was
already a cause for serious concern prior to the current
war, UNEP believes early field studies should be carried
out. This is especially important to protect human health
in a post-conflict situation.
issues for UN uranium testing in Iraq by Dai Williams
(10 April 2003) - a response to UNEP.
Depleted Uranium Research Project
Viewpoint: 'The West does not
Haifa Zangana, BBC On-line, 3 April 2003.
The Americans are hated across the Middle East, and it seems
there can be no redemption whatever they do.
But for the British Government
and people it is totally different. There have always been
bridges, cultural and economic, between medical associations
This love-hate relationship goes
back to colonial times, so there is the basis for a better
But this war, the bombardment
of Baghdad and the siege of Basra, this is no way to win
hearts and minds - not by killing Iraqis.
I think the coverage of
the war is highly inadequate and shows how little journalists
and pundits understand Iraq and the Iraqis.
Look at Baghdad, for example.
It is seen as the stronghold of the regime and a Sunni Iraqi
power base. But this is a more than 1,000-year-old city
that is as cosmopolitan as London.
By bombing Baghdad, you are bombing
all kinds of Iraqi people. If you bombed the millions of
people in London, from all their different religions and
backgrounds, you would be hitting all kinds of people. They
cannot be separated in Iraq as much as they could in London.
direct from Iraq
the up-to-date Iraq
Diaries from the Iraq
Excerpt from the Iraq Peace Team Eyewitness
report, March 27th-April 3rd
AL KINDI HOSPITAL VISIT, April 1st
IPT, including Dr. April Hurley, visited with the Director
of the Al Kindi Hospital, Dr. Osama Saaleh.
Dr. Saaleh reported that on March 31st his hospital had
received 45 casualties, including seven who were dead on
arrival, from two bombings -- one in the Al Ameen district
and the other in the Al Dhahliyeh district, both on the
periphery of Baghdad.
The staff provided photos of an incident on March 30th at
about 6 AM in the district of Zaafraniyeh in which two closely
related families in four homes were reportedly bombed, the
Shurta houses near the old Diala bridge. There was only
one survivor of the incident, Ali Ismayal, 12. Fifteen of
the other 16 people who died were: Sabah Gedan Karbeet,
42, male; Husham Sabah Eadan, 10, male; Malek Sabah Eadan,
7, male; Ali Sabah Eadan, 4, male; Madeeha Abd Kathem, 48,
female; Sabeha Awad Merdas, 58, female; Fatema Zaboon Maktoof,
27, female; Nora Sabah Gadan, 14, female; Esmaeel Abbas
Hamza, 49, male; Muhammed Taha Abbas, 12, male; Abeer Taha
Abbas, 9 female; Muna Taha Abbas, 23, female; Abbas Esmaeel
Abbas, 7, male; Azhar Ali Taher, 33, female; and, Kameela
Abd Kathem, 49, female.
Ali's aunt, Jamela Abbas, the only surviving relative of
the relatives who wasn't at the home at the time of the
bombing, confirmed reports from the hospital staff that
Ali sustained third-degree burns on 35 percent of his body
and charring of both arms, which required amputation near
the shoulders. He also had pulmonary injury from smoke inhalation.
Extensive skin grafting and multiple plastic surgeries will
be necessary. Her address is Zaafraniyeh, District 50, Street
23, House 8.
Read reports from Jo
Wilding who was in Iraq until the beginning of April
Excerpt from War
and grief 09 April 2003
This war has been a disaster for the Iraqi people. Civilian
casualties have occurred in numbers and ways that were unnecessary.
Cluster bombs have been used, though they are illegal. Anti-personnel
fragmentation bombs have been fired in residential areas.
Bombs have hit streets, markets, and farms in circumstances
that do not always appear to be accidental.
Nicolas de Torrente, the executive director of Medicins
Sans Frontieres USA, today testified to the Security Council
that "In Iraq...the conflict is essentially being carried
out in a vacuum. The political agendas and military strategies
of the warring parties have resulted in nearly completely
shutting out independent humanitarian assistance" (see www.msf.org).
But all wars are disastrous for all people. It is not this
war but all wars, which are wrong. The idea that, in the
face of humankind's great problems, the solution is to send
out young people to kill one another, is outdated and ridiculous.
In all wars, the majority of casualties are civilians. Some
suggest that, if Saddam was killing people and now he is
gone, the net result will be fewer lives lost. But that
comparison is meaningless. I cannot accept that we can develop
weapons that can be guided from space, fired from ships
offshore hundreds of miles away, and we couldn't, if we
thought about it, come up with more effective means of conflict
the collected articles of Robert
08 April 2003
Amid Allied jubilation, a child lies in agony, clothes soaked
in blood They lay in lines, the car salesman who'd just
lost his eye but whose feet were still dribbling blood,
the motorcyclist who was shot by American troops near the
Rashid Hotel, the 50-year-old female civil servant, her
long dark hair spread over the towel she was lying on, her
face, breasts, thighs, arms and feet pock-marked with shrapnel
from an American cluster bomb. For the civilians of Baghdad,
this is the real, immoral face of war, the direct result
of America's clever little "probing missions" into Baghdad.
Write to your MP, Geoff
Hoon (Secretary of State for Defence), Jack Straw
(Foreign Secretary) and of course, Tony Blair. For
a list of demands see
to the humanitarian situation
During the last Gulf War much
of the public infrastructure of Iraq was destroyed. 12 years
of economic sanctions has left the country unable to adequately
repair and maintain intastructure and plunged most of its
people into poverty. As a result the Iraqi population are
in a very vulnerable position. In particular, damage to
the electricity system, a sector which the Ministry of Defence
has said may be a target for military action, would have
a devastating knock-on effect. Many public services, such
as water and sanitation and health systems rely on electricity.
The further breakdown of these already fragile systems could
cause widespread disease and death. The disruption of food
distribution is a major concern.
from the Voices
newsletter, Feb 2003
The Independent (8 Jan.
2003, p. 4):
'Preparations for a humanitarian crisis in Iraq are woefully
inadequate despite official estimates that two million civilians
would be left homeless by a military strike, aid officials
'A confidential report drawn up by
the United Nations estimates that an American-led invasion
would, in addition to those left homeless, put up to 10
million civilians at risk of disease and hunger.
'The impact of an invasion would probably
be worse than that of the 1991 Gulf War, the report says,
because oil production would be halted, electricity cut
and the distribution of UN-supplied food severely disrupted.
"The bulk of the population is
now totally dependent on the government of Iraq for a majority,
if not all, of their basic needs," says the report,
published online yesterday by Campaign Against Sanctions
on Iraq, a pressure group based at Cambridge University.
"Unlike the situation in 1991,
they have no way of coping if they cannot access them: the
sanctions regime, if anything, has served to increase dependence
on the government as almost the sole provider."
'Christopher Klein Beekman, a programme
co-ordinator for Unicef in Iraq, told the San Francisco
Chronicle: "Iraq is already in crisis. The capacity
for withstanding shortages is very light. Malnourished children,
pregnant women have suffered the most and those are the
ones who will suffer the most during war, that's clear."'
"No one in the international community
can spend money on preparations because that would give
the message that war is inevitable," said Majeed Waleed,
the deputy manager for Care International, the largest non-government
organisation in Iraq. "It's a political statement.
So we can't do anything."
The human impact of the war will depend partly
on whether the public health infrastructure is targeted.
'The war may also see the use of the
“blackout bomb', a highly secret weapon designed to
disable electrical power grids. These 'soft bombs' which
dispense large amounts of carbon fibre filaments, can be
delivered by cruise missiles or tactical aircraft.' (Sunday
Telegraph, 29 Dec. 2002, p. 6)
Paul Sherlock, Oxfam’s leading
sanitation expert, who has worked in the region for more
than 20 years, says a war targeting the power stations needed
for the water system, posed the possibility of 'all sorts
of epidemics' and a 'very high risk of water- related diseases.'
(Independent on Sunday, 29 Dec.2002, p. 2)
One debate still ongoing in the Pentagon
is the extent to which the allies should bomb electric power
grids. 'I would shut down the electricity,' [retired US
Air Force Col. John] Warden said. 'I know I'm in a minority
here [but] If you shut down the electricity it makes it
that much harder for him to operate.' (Washington Times,
In 1991, Col. Warden pursued this strategy
in the war on Iraq as Deputy Director of Strategy, Doctrine
and Plans for the US Air Force, and he acknowledged that
the wrecking of Iraq's electricity system "gives us
long-term leverage: If there are political objectives that
the UN coalition has, it can say, 'Saddam, when you agree
to do these things, we will allow people to come in and
fix your electricity'" (Middle East Watch, Needless
Deaths in the Gulf War, p. 192)
In a report to the Security Council
in Feb. 1998, Kofi Annan referred to the 'threat of a complete
breakdown' in power generation, saying that the humanitarian
consequences of such a breakdown 'could potentially dwarf
all other difficulties endured by the Iraqi people'. (1
in the Wilderness and Campaign
Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI) for more information
on the effect of war and sanctions.
View a report from the 11th
Voices sanctions-breaking delegation to Iraq, May 2002
People Facing Humanitarian Crisis
An Interview With Dennis Halliday
by Dennis Halliday and Scott Harris
Between the Lines, April 07, 2003
Between The Lines: Do you see any sign that the United
States and Britain are taking seriously their obligations
and making distribution of food, water and medicine a high
priority in this war?
Denis Halliday: No, I'm very sad to say, despite the television
coverage, what I'm seeing is propaganda. A lot of hoopla about
bringing in one ship into Um Qaser. It wasn't an orderly system,
it looked more like looting to me. But nevertheless, it was
distribution from the back of a truck to aggressive young
men who came out of these places to look for food and took
the packets and the water. But that does not guarantee that
the food gets to orphans, to single mothers, to families.
This is a humiliation, in my view, of the Iraqi people who
are being forced to beg, in a sense, in their own country
under these terrible conditions imposed upon them by the United
States and Britain. It's tragic. To watch it I find it absolutely
awful and it must humiliate, not just the Arabs in Iraq, but
throughout the entire community.
(pre-war) on the possible humanitarian consequences of war
1 MILLION IRAQI CHILDREN MIGHT DIE IN WAR - SECRET UN DOCUMENT
- from a CASI press
release, 17 February 2003
A newly-obtained confidential UN document predicts that
30 percent of children under 5 in Iraq, or 1.26 million,
"would be at risk of death from malnutrition" in the event
of a war.
The draft document, "Integrated Humanitarian Contingency
Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring Countries", was produced
by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) on 7 January 2003. Its release comes as aid
agencies and government representatives meet urgently in
Geneva to discuss humanitarian operations in the event of
The document contains the following key assessments:
"In the event of a crisis, 30 percent of children under
5 would be at risk of death from malnutrition" [p. 3(5)].
With 4.2 million children under five in Iraq [p. 3(5)],
this represents 1.26 million children under five.
"the collapse of essential services in Iraq ... could lead
to a humanitarian emergency of proportions well beyond the
capacity of UN agencies and other aid organizations" [p.
"all UN agencies have been facing severe funding constraints
that are preventing them from reaching even minimum levels
of preparedness" [p. 1(3)]
"the effects of over 12 years of sanctions, preceded by
war, have considerably increased the vulnerability of the
population". [p. 3(5)]
"WFP [World Food Programme] estimates that approximately
10 million people ... would be highly food insecure, displaced
or directly affected by military action" [p. 11(13)]
"in the event of a crisis, only 39 percent of the population
would be serviced [with water] on a rationed basis" [p.
"UNHCR estimates that up to 1.45 million refugees and asylum-seekers
may seek to flee Iraq in the event of a military conflict"
"Up to 900,000 people may be displaced in addition to the
900,000-1,100,000 existing IDPs [internally displaced persons]"
[from tables on p. 12(14)]
5,210,000 are highly vulnerable children under five and
pregnant and lactating women.
500,000 potential direct and indirect casualties (overall
3,020,000 at nutritional risk (overall population).
18,240,000 might need access to treated water. 8,710,000
may need sanitation facilities.
View the full
Some excerpts from other
From Our Common Responsibility: The Impact of a New
War on Iraqi Children by an International
Study Team, January 2003
"The main findings of the
report are presented in sections divided into Physical Well-
Being, Mental Well-Being and Emergency Preparedness. The
first section, Physical
Well-Being concludes that despite some improvements in the
health and nutritional status of children from their post-1991
Gulf War state, Iraqi children are still in a significantly
worse state than they were before the 1991 Gulf War. Similarly,
because most of the 13 million Iraqi children are dependent
on food distributed by the Government of Iraq, the disruption
of this system by war would have a devastating impact on
children who already have a high rate of malnutrition. The
state of the physical well-being of Iraqi children thus
makes them much more vulnerable to war today than they were
"Perhaps the most startling findings are based on field
data collected by two of the world’s foremost child
psychologists who are leading experts on the psychological
impact of war on children. They found that Iraqi children
suffer significant psychological harm from the threat of
war that is hanging over their head. This finding, based
on the first ever prewar psychological field research with
children, is powerful evidence that the concern for children’s
well-being needs to be considered in the decision making
process about to take place in the United Nations Security
Finally, a review of the available data on emergency preparedness
indicates that the international community has at present
little capacity to respond to the harm that children will
suffer by a new war in Iraq."
View the full
"Iraq: Consequences of War" by
Professor Paul Rogers, October 2002
A detailed 10,000-word analysis by
Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford University, one of the
foremost authorities on international security and consultant
to Oxford Research Group. The report concludes that:
- is likely to result in the deaths
of many thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians,
- carries a high risk of the use of weapons of mass destruction
- will lead to substantial regional instability, and increased
support for al-Qaida,
View the full
Collateral Damage: the health and environmental costs of
war on Iraq a report by MEDACT, a charitable organisation
of health proessionals, November 2002
From the Executive Summary:
"Up to four million people could die in a war on Iraq
involving nuclear weapons. A more contained conflict could
cause half a million deaths and have a devastating impact
on the lives, health and environment of the combatants,
Iraqi civilians, and people in neighbouring countries and
beyond. It could also damage the global economy and thus
indirectly harm the health and well-being of millions more
people across the world."
"Credible estimates of the total
possible deaths on all sides during the conflict and the
following three months range from 48,000 to over 260,000.
Civil war within Iraq could add another 20,000 deaths. Additional
later deaths from post-war adverse health effects could
reach 200,000. If nuclear weapons were used the death toll
could reach 3,900,000. In all scenarios the majority of
casualties will be civilians."
"The aftermath of a ‘conventional’
war could include civil war, famine and epidemics, millions
of refugees and displaced people, catastrophic effects on
children’s health and development, economic collapse
including failure of agriculture and manufacturing, and
a requirement for long-term peacekeeping. Destabilisation
and possible regime change in countries neighbouring Iraq
is also possible, as well as more terrorist attacks. Global
economic crisis may be triggered through trade reduction
and soaring oil prices, with particularly devastating consequences
for developing countries."
"The financial burden will be
enormous on all sides, with arms spending, occupation costs,
relief and reconstruction possibly exceeding $150-200bn.
The US is likely to spend $50bn - $200bn on the war and
$5bn - 20bn annually on the occupation. As the report points
out, $100bn would fund about four years of expenditure to
address the health needs of the world’s poorest people."
Conflict will be more destructive
than 1990-1991 Gulf War
"The avowed US aim of regime change means any new conflict
will be much more intense and destructive than the 1990-91
Gulf War, and will involve more deadly weapons developed
in the interim. Furthermore, the mental and physical health
of ordinary Iraqis is far worse than it was in 1991, making
them much more vulnerable this time round, and even less
able to muster the resources needed for recovery and reconstruction."
"Thanks to the oil revenues
and social policies of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship,
Iraq pre 1991 had become a reasonably prosperous, urbanised,
middle-income country with a modern social infrastructure
and good public services. The combined effects of war and
sanctions, only partly offset by the humanitarian relief
of the Oil-for-Food programme, relegated it to a pre-industrial
age, and it now occupies a lowly 126th place out of 174
in the UN Human Development Index."
View the full
A list of recent reports on
the humanitarian consequences of war in Iraq can be found
on the CASI
View the CAFOD
Iraq photo gallery
A war on Iraq will
be a disaster from a humanitarian perspective.
Ruud Lubbers, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. (Independent
on Sunday, 29 Dec. 2002, p. 2)
War on Iraq runs the risk
of turning the Middle East into an inexhaustible recruiting
ground for anti- western terrorism.
Douglas Hurd, former Tory Foreign
Secretary (Financial Times, 3 Jan.)
Many of us are deeply saddened
to see a great country such as the United States aided and
abetted extra-ordinarily by Britain. I mean [it is] mind-
boggling... I have had a great deal of time for your Prime
Minister, but I'm shocked.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel
Peace Prize winner (Observer, 5 Jan.)
Given that 85 per cent of the
Turkish people dont want a war, the party and government
feel we must exhaust all peaceful solutions before reluctantly
becoming involved in a war.
Murat Mercan, deputy chair of the
ruling Justice and Development Party. (Financial Times,
10 Jan., p. 10)
No convincing evidence has
been provided by Washington and London that Iraq possesses
weapons of mass destruction, or that it poses a threat to
its neighbours (let alone to the West), or that there is
any operational connection between the Iraqi regime and
al-Qaeda. Thus far it has all been mere assertion, not worth
Corelli Barnett, right-wing historian
(Telegraph, 30 Dec. 2002, p. 19)
Last night, one Cabinet minister
warned: If Tony Blair sanctions a war on Iraq, it could
split the Labour Party.
(Sunday Mirror, 12 Jan., p. 9)