Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 10, 2003
Iraq war would be disaster for children
Report says Iraqi children at grave risk of starvation, disease, trauma
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
A new war in Iraq would be catastrophic to the 13 million children in Iraq, says an international study team funded in part by Church organizations including the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
Iraqi children are at grave risk of starvation, disease and psychological trauma and are already highly vulnerable due to prolonged economic sanctions, says the team.
In a report released Jan. 30 entitled Our Common Responsibility: The Impacts of a New War on Iraqi Children, the independent group of academics, researchers and practitioners, says Iraqi children "are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of a new war than they were before the Gulf War in 1991."
The team produced a comprehensive report on the humanitarian effects of the Gulf War, which has been acknowledged by many as the most comprehensive study of the impact of war on civilians.
Among its new findings based mainly on field data and thousands of independently conducted household interviews throughout Iraq, the team said:
The international study team concluded that "a grave humanitarian disaster" will occur if war breaks out in Iraq. It added, "While it is impossible to predict both the nature of any war and the number of expected deaths and injuries, casualties among children will be in the thousands, probably in the tens of thousands and possible in the hundreds of thousands."
- The 16 million Iraqi civilians who are totally dependent on government-distributed food rations will face food shortages, malnutrition and possibly starvation if war breaks out.
- War could result in as many as 1.4 million Iraqi refugees and as many as two million internally displaced persons.
- As many as 500,000 people could require emergency medical treatment.
- With war looming, many children have nightmares and 40 per cent do not think life is worth living.
- Iraq's water and sanitation systems are in bad shape as the result of 12 years of sanctions. A further disruption of the services, as occurred during the 1991 Gulf War "would be catastrophic for Iraqi children."
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