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Iraq: 'Collateral Damage' damning new report


Iraq: 'Collateral Damage' damning new report

Kia ora,

The new report from MEDACT 'Continuing Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq 2003' is now available. Released overnight in the northern hemisphere, it documents the 'collateral damage' between March and October of this year.

"The war on Iraq and its aftermath have exacted a heavy toll of death and injury on combatants and non-combatants, according to an international report released today. 'Continuing Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq 2003' concludes that between 21,700 and 55,000 people have died since the US/UK-led invasion, with the number of killed and injured continuing to rise.

Among the dead, the report estimates 7,800 and 9,600 Iraqi civilians. The number of injured civilians is estimated at 20,000. The report was drafted by Medact, the London-based affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), which organized the global release in 12 other countries. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), IPPNW's US affiliate, joined in the release.

The report also documents the deterioration in the general state of health of the Iraqi people since the war. Health in Iraq, especially among children, was of grave international concern before the war started, with one in eight children dying before their fifth birthday and a quarter of babies born underweight. The impact of the 2003 war compounded this poor state of health, afflicting people who were already weakened.

Vulnerable groups, including women and children especially, have suffered from the breakdown in law and order, lack of security, and damage to infrastructure. Beleaguered Iraqi health services are unable to cope with the health crisis. For every Ali Abbas, the severely injured and orphaned boy now undergoing intensive treatment in the UK, there are thousands of maimed children with no safe access to adequate health services, let alone sophisticated rehabilitation.

"Limited access to clean water and sanitation, poverty, malnutrition, and disruption of public services including health services continue to have a negative impact on the health of the Iraqi people," said the report's author Dr. Sabya Farooq.

Poor health is further jeopardized by the extensive war-related contamination of land, rivers, and atmosphere. "The health and environmental consequences of the war will be felt for many years to come," said Medact President and international public health expert Dr. June Crown, who chaired the UK press conference at the British Medical Association.

Commenting from New York, IPPNW/PSR spokesperson, Dr. Victor Sidel of the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and an advisor on the report, said, "This authoritative report, based on exhaustive efforts to ascertain data on the death, disability, and damage caused by the attack on Iraq, documents the health, environmental and societal consequences of waging an ill-advised and illegal war using ferociously destructive modern weaponry. The United States and the United Kingdom must not only protect the health of the Iraqi people by providing massive help in the reconstruction of the infrastructure the attackers have destroyed, but must also make certain that future US and British policies prevent 'pre-emptive wars.'"" [Extract from advance media release]

'Continuing Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq 2003' is available at http://www.medact.org/tbx/pages/sub.cfm?id=775

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