Wednesday, February 19, 2003

More Than One Million Young Children At Risk in Iraq Invasion
"Some 30 percent of all Iraqi children under five, or more than 1.2 million children, "would be at risk of death from malnutrition" in the event of a United States-led invasion of Iraq, according to a confidential United Nations document obtained by two anti-war groups and released Monday.

"The document, which was drafted January 7 by the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), also finds that less than 40 percent of Iraq's entire population may have access to water if a military attack caused nationwide disruption.

"The report stresses that the collapse of essential services--virtually all controlled by the government of President Saddam Hussein --could lead to a "humanitarian emergency of proportions well beyond the capacity of UN agencies and other aid organizations." It noted an estimate from the UN's World Food Programme that some 10 million people would be "highly food insecure, displaced or directly affected by military action."

"In addition, up to 1.45 million people seeking refuge may try to flee Iraq if war breaks out, while the number of people in Iraq who are displaced from their homes, currently one million, may increase twofold. More than five million highly vulnerable children, pregnant women or new mothers would also be at greatest risk, according to the report, while 18 million people may need access to treated water."

Someone needs to corner Tony Blair and John Howard with this information and ask them whether they think it would be "worth it" just to "disarm Iraq" of the few (if any) WMDs possessed by Saddam.

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