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[casi] FW: SAVE THE CHILDREN: War will exacerbate humanitarian crisis inIra q

>  <<...OLE_Obj...>>
> For immediate release: Friday, September 13, 2002
> News Release
> War will exacerbate humanitarian crisis in Iraq
> Military intervention would greatly exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in
> Iraq: pushing a population already suffering from poverty and sanctions
> over the edge, warned Save the Children UK - the longest-standing
> non-governmental organisation operating in Northern Iraq - today.  The
> charity urges the British Government to find a diplomatic solution to the
> current impasse and focus on improving the humanitarian situation for
> Iraqi citizens, almost half of whom are under the age of 14.
> After 12 years of sanctions, infant mortality in Iraq has doubled and the
> civilian population is highly vulnerable to external shocks that impact on
> food supplies and basic service provision. Military conflict will
> interrupt the supply of food under the UN Oil for Food Programme if
> neighbouring states close borders, central administration and distribution
> systems break down, transport routes are obstructed and humanitarian
> agencies cease operations.
> "Conflict in Northern Iraq's highly urbanised population would interrupt
> food supplies and cut electricity, water and sanitation, which could
> result in displacement on a very large scale and separating children from
> their families," said Rob MacGillivray, Save the Children UK's Regional
> Emergencies Adviser, after an assessment visit in August 2002. "If prompt
> humanitarian assistance cannot be delivered in accordance with refugee
> status, the situation could become life threatening. Access to remote
> mountainous areas is difficult, especially in winter. Fuel is already in
> short supply and private food stocks will run low in winter."
> Save the Children UK's recent study of Kurdish livelihoods in Northern
> Iraq found that sanctions and the Oil for Food Programme have made the
> population in that region almost totally dependent on outside assistance.
> 60 per cent of the Kurdish population live in poverty. These monthly
> rations feed a family, on average, for only three weeks. Iraqis living in
> south and central Iraq are even worse off.
> The food ration to Northern Iraq is supplied every month by Government of
> Iraq-controlled warehouses, further increasing the likelihood of supply
> interruptions to more than three million Iraqi Kurds. Average incomes of
> $3-$6 would not feed a family in the absence of rations. Children who are
> poor and powerless will suffer most if they are deprived of food and basic
> services and become traumatised by conflict.
> The 1991 Gulf War and ensuing sanctions have seriously damaged Iraq's
> infrastructure. Renewed military conflict is likely to encompass areas of
> high population density and affect key infrastructure indispensable to the
> survival of the civilian population.
> Medical supplies in Iraq are already understocked. Any interruption of
> medical supplies would almost certainly cause dramatic suffering among
> those needing treatment. Damage to electricity installations will affect
> food and medicine storage, hospitals, water generation, purification and
> sanitation.
> Electricity and water supplies currently do not meet minimum requirements.
> Poor water quality is already the prime cause of death for Iraqi children
> and could face sudden deterioration.
> "Resolving the humanitarian crisis, not exacerbating it by war, must be
> the priority. In the light of the current impasse over weapons inspections
> Save the Children UK urges the UK Government to pursue a diplomatic
> solution via the United Nations and within the framework of international
> law," said Ken Caldwell, Director of Programme Operations for Save the
> Children UK. "Children's rights and their survival would be violated by
> military action that undermines food security through the interruption of
> supplies, border closures or disablement of local transportation and
> distribution."
> For more information contact the Save the Children Press Office at: tel:
> 020 7716 2280 (out of hours: 07831 650 409).
> Notes to editors:
> * Save the Children UK has worked in Northern Iraq since 1991 and
> helps to build the capacity of local organisations working to fulfil
> children's rights in the area.
> * Save the Children UK's report Understanding Kurdish Livelihoods in
> Northern Iraq was published in January 2002
> * With Save the Children organizations in 32 countries and operating
> programs in more than 100 countries, the International Save the Children
> Alliance is the world's largest independent global movement for children.
> Save the Children fights for children's rights and delivers immediate and
> lasting improvements to children's lives worldwide.
> * 'Beat Poverty' is Save the Children's campaign to raise awareness of
> and fight child poverty. All over the world poverty is stealing children's
> rights to a safe, healthy and fulfilling childhood. It doesn't have to be
> this way. Save the Children believes poverty can be beaten. The Beat
> Poverty campaign is calling for increased spending on health and education
> for every child, more and better overseas aid, fairer global trade rules
> and making children the top priority in actions on poverty.
> * Join forces with us to Beat Poverty by visiting the website at
> or call 020 7701 8916.

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