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FW: HRF Press Release

-----Original Message-----
From: Shihab Al-Mahdawi []

Subject: HRF Press Release

                                                        PRESS RELEASE

ISSUED BY: Human Relief Foundation

BAGHDAD – SUN 8th July 2001

Human Relief Foundation is a registered charity that has been working in
Iraq since 1991.  HRF continuously visits Iraq to implement projects and to
assess their effectiveness.  On the 7th July HRF sent a delegation
representing different donor organization to view and evaluate the latest
humanitarian situation around the main cities of the country and to be
present at the ceremony of the finishing of the MISAN water treatment plant.
The delegation also observed the distribution of high protein nutritious
food basket to over 5000 families / Baghdad & Albasra, distribution of
scientific & medical magazines; BMJ & Nature, Medicine and the furnishing of
the sewing and computer center at the city of Almousul. The following is a
summary of the dire situation currently prevalent in Iraq:

1-Health: Continuous sever lack of medicine; third generation antibiotics,
Ventoline, Ibuprofen, Glycerol trinitrate/ tablets and spray, Isosorbide
Monotritrate and many others, and basic hospital requirements; formaldehyde,
anesthetic, plastic bags for blood transfusion, blue cannulas, and
specialized spare parts.
The country is also witnessing a great increase of cancer cases due to
exposure to Depleted Uranium;   ‘Cases of Acute myeloblastic leukemia, Acute
lymphoblastic leukemia, Osteosarcoma, Burkitt’s and non-Burkitt’s lymphoma,
and Neuroblastoma have increased very rapidly particularly during the last
five years’.   Dr E. Assa’doon told us that there is an increase of 60% in
leukemia cases in and around Albasra city compared to last year.  Children
are still dying at the rate of 4000 per month due a lack of medication and
health care.

2-Salary: Average salary for employees at government offices is 3000-10,000
dinars per month (the equivalent of £1-£4). This is particularly unbearable
considering the price of commodities.  Meat costs 3000 dinars per kilo,
chicken costs 1500 dinars per kilo, 50 dinars for a piece of bread, 75-100
dinars for a single egg, 400 dinars for a single banana etc.

3-Primary and Secondary Education: Families are still forced to withdraw
children from schools in order to generate a secondary income. They are
unable to afford the education in any event. A single pencil costs 100
dinars, a basic homework book costs 550 dinars, and pencil sharpeners and
erasers cost 200 dinars each.

4-University Education: Students are denied access to the WWW, text books
and circulars. So called ‘specialists’ in professions are many years behind
the rest of the world as they are denied access to International
conferences, medical & scientific magazines or journals by the UN “sanction
committee”. For those few who do manage to complete a degree, they are
incredibly unlikely to secure employment. A university graduate is fortunate
to get a laborer’s job.

5-Social Life: Due to the price of commodities and low salaries, people are
unable to get married. They are forced to look after their families and
cannot introduce new members into them. A new phenomenon has emerged – shops
for second hand furniture and second hand books.  As the intellectual
community finds it self forced to sell books and related material in order
to meet their every day needs.
A society that was used to purchasing new modern furniture has been reduced
to partaking in auctions for second hand items such as electrical plugs and
doors.  This degradation is extenuated by the fact that any purchase is at
the expense of another essential item such as food for a week.

The delegation has learnt a great deal about the new situation in Iraq and
came back determined to spread the word and to do all in order to help the
nation of Iraq over this bad living conditions.
Please contact the Human Relief Foundation if you would like to know more.

Tel:01274 392727
Fax:01274 739992

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