11/11/2003

20,000 Iraqi civilians killed as result of hostilities: report

A new report into the effect of recent hostilities on Iraqis has claimed that around 20,000 civilians may have died as a result of the conflict.

The health charity Medact's report, 'Continuing Collateral Damage: The health and environmental costs of war on Iraq 2003', which was released today, estimated that more than 20,000 Iraqis have died between the start of hostilities in March and when the report was finalised late last month.

The number of people affected by the aftermath of the war is still rising as the Iraqi people continue to pay the price in death, injury and mental and physical ill health. The charity further claims that the health consequences of the 2003 war on Iraq "will be felt by its people for years, maybe generations".

"Limited access to clean water and sanitation, as well as poverty, malnutrition, and disruption of public services including health services continue to have a negative impact on the health of the Iraqi people," said the report’s author Dr Sabya Farooq.

Because of the continuing insecurity and alarming deterioration in the health of Iraqi people since the war, Medact is calling on the occupying forces and UN agencies to: investigate the current and long-term health impacts of the war; ensure that all reconstruction of public services including health is fully funded; and to carry out their obligation under the Geneva Convention to maintain law and order and to protect hospitals, health professionals and those who provide humanitarian aid.

(gmcg)

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