Iraq: 'humanitarian situation is 'one of the most serious in world'

 Five years after the start of the war in Iraq, the humanitarian situation in most of the country remains one of the most serious in the world, the Missionary News Service (MISNA) reported yesterday. Because of the war, millions of Iraqis face difficulties in having access to water sources, sanitary and healthcare. The current crisis has been exacerbated by the prolonged effects of the previous armed conflicts and years of economic sanctions. MISNA quotes an eight page report issued by the Red Cross (ICRC) entitled 'Iraq: An Ever Worsening Crisis'. In the study, the ICRC, probably the most active aid agencies in Iraq over the past five years, said that: "despite light improvements observed in security matters in some regions, the armed violence continues to cause disastrous effects every day". Civilians are often the deliberate targets of violence, in open violation of international law, and most of the families in the country has at least one relative who is sick, wounded, killed or refugee because of the war. "The best security in some areas cannot remove attention from the constant lament of millions of people essentially left to their own fate" said the ICRC operations chief for the Middle East and North Africa, Beatrice Megevand Roggo. Apart from the violence, infrastructure (after the extensive US bombing campaigns) which affects people's daily lives at every level has collapsed. The report says hospitals are without medicines and specialized staff, there a lack of drinking water and no electricity. "These elements must be given far more attention in order to avoid a crisis of even worse proportions" said Ms Roggo. The citizens of Iraq, which used to be one of the most developed, progressive and educated countries in the area, are becoming sick and dying from preventable diseases rarely seen in the country before the US invasion. Source: MISNA

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