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US and UK are making things much worse in Iraq



Red Cross details 'unbearable suffering' of Iraqi civilians

Iraqi civilians are experiencing "immense suffering" because of a "disastrous" security situation, deepening poverty and a worsening humanitarian crisis, according to a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The ICRC also sees no sign that the American-led security "surge" in Baghdad is bringing relief to the capital, while hospitals struggle to cope with mass casualties as malnutrition as well as power and water shortages become more frequent across the country.

"The suffering Iraqi men, women and children are enduring today is unbearable and unacceptable," Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations for the organisation, said at the group's Geneva headquarters.

The report, Civilians without Protection, provides a grim snapshot of the situation in Iraq but will carry special weight thanks to the ICRC's reputation as the scrupulously neutral "silent service" of international humanitarian work. It maintains a presence in Baghdad despite the bombing of its offices in 2003, and works closely with the Iraqi Red Crescent.

The report says that more than 100,000 families have been forced to leave their homes in the past year because of the shootings, bombings, abductions, murders and military operations.

"Every day dozens of people are killed and many more wounded," it says. "The plight of Iraqi civilians is a daily reminder of the fact that there has long been a failure to respect their lives and dignity."

Saad, a humanitarian worker, is quoted as recalling the scene after a bomb blast: "I saw a four-year-old boy sitting beside his mother's body, which had been decapitated by the explosion. He was talking to her, asking her what had happened."

The report quotes a woman as saying: "If there's anything anybody could do that would really help us, it would be to help collect the bodies that line the streets in front of our homes every morning and that we find nobody dares touch or remove." It was "simply unbearable" to face them every morning on the way to school.

Medical services are in dire straits, with many health workers fleeing the country after the deaths or abductions of colleagues. At Baghdad's al-Kindi hospital only 40 of the 208 surgeons who used to work there are now still on duty.


SOURCE

The Guardian, "Red Cross details 'unbearable suffering' of Iraqi civilians", 12 April 2007.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2054899,00.html


FURTHER READING


The Times, "Life for ordinary Iraqis is worse than ever", 11 April 2007.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1640389.ece
    Life for ordinary Iraqis is getting worse as they try to live with a poor healthcare system, little electricity, a shortage of drinking water and bodies left lying on the streets in unsanitary conditions, according to a report by the Red Cross.
    After some of the most intense fighting in Baghdad for two months yesterday, which saw a heavy exchange of gunfire between insurgents and the US military, the bodies of twenty [alleged] insurgents were still lying in the streets of the capital today.
    The report by the Red Cross, published today, said: "The conflict in Iraq is inflicting immense suffering on the entire population. Civilians bear the brunt of the relentless violence and the extremely poor security conditions that are disrupting the lives and livelihoods of millions. Every day, dozens of people are killed and many more wounded.
    "Civilians bear the brunt of the relentless violence and the extremely poor security conditions that are disrupting the lives and livelihoods of millions. The plight of Iraqi civilians is a daily reminder of the fact that there has long been a failure to respect their lives and dignity."
    A mother living in Baghdad told the Red Cross that dead bodies were a constant reminder of the conflict. “The most important thing that anyone could do would be to help collect the bodies that line the streets in front of our homes every morning. No one dares touching them,” she said.
    ...
    Food, electricity and drinking water shortages have created a situation in Iraq which adversely affects everyone in the country, whether or not they are directly impacted by the violence. Displacement, as families flee the most dangerous regions of Iraq, has increased the pressure on services in other parts of the country.
    ...
    During the fighting yesterday in the Fadhil district of central Baghdad four Apache helicopters were hit, but not brought down. Sixteen US soldiers were wounded.
    James Hider, The Times correspondent in Baghdad, explained that the infrastructure in Iraq was in crisis and showed little sign of improvement. “The entire healthcare system has collapsed. There are so few supplies that there are just 30 intensive care units in Baghdad and people are getting shot every day,” he said. “If you get shot in Iraq, they’ll patch you up, but you are going to die as there is no after care.”
    “There are common complaints about water supply and the electricity is off all day, it hasn’t improved since the war. There was a demonstration in Sadr City over the lack of clean water and basic services.”
    The Red Cross report is published on the same day as reports from Oxfam and the Oxford Research Group claiming UK foreign policy in Iraq is fermenting further radical support and undermining the UK’s international reputation.

"The Insider" mailing list article, 12 April 2007.

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Tags: Iraq, Red Cross, report, Oxfam, worse, unbearable, suffering, security, , conspiracy theories.

 
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