Don't expect frontpage coverage in the U.S. for this item, since it is considered impolite to discuss the actual consequences of U.S. aggression. An excerpt:
Responses to a detailed survey conducted by a United Nations agency and the Iraqi government indicate that everyday conditions for Iraqis in the aftermath of the 2003 US-led invasion have deteriorated at an alarming rate, with huge numbers of people lacking adequate access to basic services and resources such as clean water, food, health care, electricity, jobs and sanitation.
"This survey shows a rather tragic situation of the quality of life in Iraq," Barham Salih, Iraq's minister of planning, said in statement, adding: "If you compare this to the situation in the 1980s, you will see a major deterioration...."
Researchers determined that some 24,000 Iraqis died as a result of the US-led invasion in 2003 and the first year of occupation. Children below the age of 18 comprised 12 percent of those deaths, according to survey data....But they also acknowledge that their numbers [on deahts] are derived from a question -- posed to household members concerning dead and missing relatives -- that "underestimates deaths, because households in which all members were lost are omitted...."
In addition to deaths attributed to warfare, Iraqi children have suffered from a lack of adequate nutrition since 2003, the survey reports.
Data from the survey indicates that 23 percent of children between six months and five years suffer from chronic malnutrition, while 12 percent suffer from general malnutrition, and 8 percent experience acute malnutrition.
The malnutrition figures are consistent with statistics from previous, smaller surveys cited earlier this year by Jean Ziegler, the UN’s expert on malnutrition.
Ziegler drew harsh criticism from US officials in March when he told the UN Commission on Human Rights that child malnutrition rates in Iraq had nearly doubled since 2003. Ziegler said the rise was "a result of the war led by coalition forces."
In addition to war, the new UN report suggests that more than a decade of harsh economic sanctions against Iraq, enthusiastically supported by the US and British governments, has had a major impact on the health of Iraqi children....
The survey notes that children under the age of 15 make up 39 percent of the country’s total population....
Years of sanctions and war have also had a major negative impact on Iraq’s health care system, once considered among the best in the Middle East, authors of the survey observe.
The list of "current major problems" includes "lack of health personnel, lack of medicines, non-functioning medical equipment and destroyed hospitals and health centers...."
Iraq’s Health Ministry had requested $2 billion for health care services in 2004 from US controlled funding sources, but reportedly received less than half that amount - only $950 million. Doctors told CSM that due to poor funding and the slow pace of the US-led reconstruction effort, projects to repair hospital water pipes and sewage systems are left undone.
In addition to poor facilities and the lack of medicine and personnel, Al-Awqati suggested that poor security is one reason the infant mortality rate in Iraq remains high under the US-led occupation. "Women can’t reach the hospital at night," she said, referring to the lack of safety near her own facility.
The UN survey reports 32 deaths per 1,000 births during infants’ first year. The report further indicates that "infant and child mortality rates appear to have been steadily increasing" during the last 15 years of war and sanctions. The number of mothers who die during labor was 93 for every 100,000 births, far worse than the rates of maternal mortality in Jordan and Saudi Arabia....
Of the households surveyed, 51 percent of those in urban areas of southern Iraq live in neighborhoods "where sewage could be seen in the streets." Nationwide, 40 percent of families in urban areas and 30 percent in rural areas reported living in neighborhoods where they can see sewage in the streets.
Iraqis are not fairing much better with respect to clean sources of water. The survey indicates that only 54 percent of households nationwide have access to a "safe and stable" supply of drinking water. An estimated 722,000 Iraqis, the report also notes, rely on sources that are both unreliable and unsafe.
Conditions are worse in rural areas, with 80 percent of families drinking unsafe water, the report says. According to researchers, "the situation is alarming" in the southern governorates of Basra, Dhi Qar, Qadisiya, Wasit, and Babil, located near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. A large percentage of the population in this region relies on water from polluted rivers and local streams, the report says.
Although 98 percent of Iraqi households are connected to the electrical grid, 78 percent of them report "severe instability" and low quality in the service, according to the survey. As a result, about one in three Iraqi families now relies on alternative sources of electricity such as generators, most of which are shared between households....