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Military Receives Billions, Civilian's Only Crumbs

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, Britain is spending hundreds of millions on the war with Iraq but has pledged only $1million in response to a desperate appeal for money to shelter an estimated 3.5 million Iraqi's predicted to be forced from their homes during the conflict. This is a crime against humanity. Maree Howard writes.

According to global news wire services, the UN has stepped up its pleas to the international community for more funds to help cope with the expected human fallout from the war with Iraq.

Of the 3.5 million people predicted to be forced from their homes, at least 500,000 will require medical aid while 16 million already rely on government food aid which is critically short.

The UN, which has come under savage attack from Mr Bush, Britain's Tony Blair and Australia's John Howard and others in recent days, has also slammed the US military for not revealing where refugee camps will be placed once war begins.

While the UN inspectors and other staff have evacuated to Cyprus, many overseas staff from aid agencies such as the Red Cross and Red Crescent remain in Baghdad to help war victims.

Food prices are reported to be skyrocketing with staple food items in critically short supply. In the few markets remaining open desperate women are reportedly selling their wedding rings in exchange for food.

At maternity hospitals women on the verge of giving birth have requested caesarean sections to avoid going into labour during bombing raids.

US sources are reporting that in the initial stages of the war one bomb or missile will be rained down on Iraq every 45 seconds which is said to be one of the most intensive bombing blitzkriegs in global living memory.

Many Iraqi's are reported to be reluctant to enter government shelters, built mainly for chemical or nuclear attack, because of US bombing of a civilian shelter in 1991 that left 408 mainly women and children dead.

With these UN Commission for Refugeee reports, the "war" has moved beyond destroying weapons of mass destruction and regime change of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. For me, the actions of the "coalition of the willing" have now been elevated to a much higher level to that of a crime against humanity.

ENDS

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