Just in: numerous hospitals and clinics have been stripped by looters.
Statement Attributable to
UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy
UNICEF urges all parties to protect Iraqi children; AMMAN/GENEVA/ NEW YORK - "UNICEF is deeply concerned about the impact of this war on Iraqi children and women. We know that in wartime children are the most vulnerable population. This is especially so in Iraq, here poor governance, two prior wars, and years of international sanctions have combined to weaken the Iraqi population.
"Iraqi children are extremely vulnerable. More than 1 million children under age five are malnourished. When children are poorly nourished they are susceptible to disease. Disease spreads rapidly during war, when safe water supplies are disrupted, people are displaced from their homes, and sources of food and medicine are compromised. When you factor in the loss of education and the psycho-social trauma, there is no question that war takes its greatest toll on children. And we should all remember that children make up half of Iraq's population."
[Pick one: a gram of antibiotics tomorrow, or radical amputation in ten days ... the quality of our response makes the difference.]
What UNICEF said at the UN briefing; 10 April 2003, Amman Jordan - Malnutrition rates are likely to increase sharply by the end of April all over Southern Iraq due to the water situation. UNICEF finds reports of continued chaos in Baghdad seriously worrying. The situation in hospitals continues to be critical ...
The widespread looting and chaos spread to UNICEF’s offices in Baghdad yesterday – phones, chairs, essentially everything was taken away. [Medical facilities in Basra have also been looted, according to the patients who have made the journey from the city.]
UNICEF teams reaching Um Qasar are also painting a seriously worrying picture. In the past few days UNICEF has had water and health specialists there. The most alarming information they reported is the dramatic increase in diarrhoeal disease during the past five days. Doctors at the local hospital reported the staggering increase of childhood diarrhoea – this is directly related to the water situation in Southern Iraq: In April 2002 there were 30 cases of diarrhoea in the entire month. During the first five days of April 2003, doctors reported 50 cases.
Another alarming observation is related to staffing in the hospital itself. Normally, the local hospital has a staff of six doctors. Now there are only two. The others have left to be near their families and homes. By 10am this morning, the two doctors had seen 100 patients; some wounded and lots of women and children – often very young children, under the age of 5. On average since the conflict began, the doctors treat 340 cases a day. They see patients from Safwan and even Basra."
While the war-mongers were quick to attack protestors with "Why weren't you protesting against Hussein, all this time?" despite the fact that many of us have been, they were equally quick to ignore the fact that we have for months been predicting a humanitarian catastrophe. Will Uncle Sam be as flint-hearted as Uncle Saddam?!
Are American Generals really such lamers? I know comms and logistics ... I think they just don't give a good god-damn ... it seems they have brown butt to kick, and that's their only concern.
*Please excuse my vehemence ... these malevolent bastards intend to make the entire human race look bad. Get it? Get it? Get it?!!*