World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Basra: UN agencies scramble to bring relief


Iraq: UN agencies scramble to bring relief, with special concern over Basra

Local employees of United Nations relief agencies fanned out inside Iraq and around its borders today to bring aid to the civilian population, with particular concern focused on the country's second city, Basra, where lack of water has raised the spectre of disease for its 1.7 millions residents, especially 100,000 children under the age of five.

"There must now be a threat of disease as tens of thousands of people in their homes, hospitals and care institutions attempt to cope and find what water they can from the river and other sources," UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Geoffrey Keele told a briefing in Amman, Jordan, on the UN's relief activities. "Unfortunately, the river is also where sewage is dumped."

Noting UNICEF's role as the lead agency for water in the emergency and that this was the third day Basra was reported to be without water because of frequent power cuts, he said: "As UNICEF has warned, bad water costs lives, especially among the most vulnerable. And the children of Iraq are some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

"Not only are they suffering from high rates of malnutrition, in Basra there is the very real possibility now of child deaths, not only from the conflict, but from the additional effects of diarrhoea and dehydration. We estimate that at least 100,000 children under the age of five are at risk."

UNICEF is looking at ways to provide emergency water supplies as soon as conditions allow and is also at work in Baghdad focusing on the urgent need for clean water in the capital's hospitals, Mr. Keele said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) added its voice to the concern, warning that the health situation could deteriorate quickly. It said teams from the International Committee of the Red Cross had managed to restore service for some 40 per cent of the population but that would only partially and temporarily cover needs.

Re-hydration is one of the most efficient and cost-effective measures against diarrhoea-related diseases, the second cause of mortality among children under the age of five, WHO spokesperson Fadela Chaib said, but the use of re-hydration salts requires clean water. In similar past situations in Iraq, diarrhoea diseases have accounted for 25 to 40 per cent of deaths during the acute phase of the emergency, with 80 per cent of deaths in under-two-year olds. Women and children will be the most affected group, she added.

The UN High Commissioner for the Refugees (UNHCR) said mobile teams based from the southwestern Iranian city of Ahwaz were monitoring the crossings from Iraq because the grim situation reported in Basra. Spokesman Peter Kessler said that further north along the frontier, a UNHCR team based in Khermanshah was visiting the Khosravi crossing today to check the frontier, following reports of attacks inside Iraq.

To the far north of Iraq, he said an eight-truck UNHCR convoy of relief items reached Silopi in southeastern Turkey this morning. Eight thousand mattresses from a regional stockpile at Iskenderun were being unloaded at the Red Crescent warehouse.

But no refugee movements were reported in the last 24 hours, he added.

For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) said 19 trucks carrying about 380 tons of food offloaded their shipment in a warehouse in Erbil, where local staff are still working, for distribution under a nutrition programme in the northern provinces. Spokesman Khaled Mansour said the situation there was described as quiet but tense. People who had left Erbil because of the conflict were returning, he added.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news