UN Radio: There is Anarchy and Chaos in Baghdad
There is anarchy and chaos in Baghdad, according to the United Nations humanitarian agencies in Amman, Jordan. Looting continued throughout the city and most of the United Nations compound has been looted. The spokeswoman for the UN humanitarian coordinator, Veronique Taveau, says that the United States-led coalition forces seem unable to control the situation:
"This inaction by the occupying power is in violation of the Geneva convention, which explicitly states that medical establishments must be protected, that the wounded and the sick must be the object of particular protection and respect and that hospital personnel must be protected and must be free to carry out their duties."
WHO Concerned about Impact of Lack of Law and Order on Patients in Ira
qThe World Health Organization is extremely concerned that the apparent lack of law and order in Baghdad will have a very serious impact on health care in the Iraqi capital. WHO says that many people who need regular medication or hospital treatment are unable or unwilling to leave their homes to go to clinics or hospitals. Fadela Chaib is the spokeswoman for WHO in Amman:
"Insulin-dependent diabetics, those who need treatment for cancer, patients with kidney failure and many others who depend on medical treatment to keep alive are being deprived of access to this treatment."
WHO says it is ready to deliver urgently needed surgical and medical supplies into Baghdad but it can only do so when the security situation improves.
UN Sends Assessment Team to Umm Qasr
A team from the United Nations humanitarian office went to Umm Qasr, Iraq, today to assess the food availability. The team, which includes two experts from the World Food Programme (WFP), is also looking at the situation of internally displaced people, transport and other logistics related matters. On the food situation, WFP spokesman, Khaled Mansour says the agency plans to reactivate food distribution and has purchased about half a million tonnes of food in the region and from around the world:
"Under our plan to reactivate the food monthly rationing system in Iraq as early as May, WFP needs to bring in about half a million tonnes of food every month into Iraq for the next three months. So basically we are covered for May. With funding for our appeal still less than $300 million we are calling again on our donors to come forward and support our efforts."
UNICEF Reports Increase in Diahrroea among Iraqi Children
The UN Children's Fund today warned of a dramatic increase of diarrhoeal diseases among children during the past five days in southern Iraq. A UNICEF teams in Umm Qasr describes it as a seriously worrying picture. In the past few days, the Agency has had water and health specialists reporting on the dramatic increase in diarrhoeal diseases. Doctors at the local hospital said the staggering increase in diarrhoea among children is directly related to the water situation in that region. UNICEF spokeswoman, Wivina Belmonte, says that in the first five days of April this year the hospital has seen 50 patients compared to 30 for the month of April last year:
"Based on what they've seen, they conclude that malnutrition rates are likely to increase sharply by the end of the month all over southern Iraq due to the water situation. UNICEF was setting up a water bladder of 10,000 litres for the hospital in Umm Qasr today."
Kofi Annan Says Mandate of UN Weapons Inspectors Still Valid
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that the mandate of the weapons inspectors in Iraq is still valid. The Secretary-General told reporters upon entering the United Nations headquarters that the mandate was only suspended because it became inoperable as a result of the war:
"I would expect Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei to be able to return as soon as it is possible and I think they are the ones with the mandate to disarm Iraq, and when the situation permits, they should go back to resume their work."