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[casi] More than 1600 Iraqi civilians known dead

More than 1600 Iraqi civilians have been killed since hostilities began,
according to's compilation of mainstream press reports. builds on Prof. Marc Herold's Afghanistan methodology, and
includes full web access to IBC's database of incidents and supporting
references.  As such, IBC's underlying data are totally transparent, shielding
IBC from casual charges that its counts are inflated.

Note that IBC doesn't count deaths due to indirect causes (water borne diseases,
refugee risks, disruption of medical services), a tally that will ultimately
fall to the epidemiologists.  It must be said there's no end of tragedy beyond
the statistics, as any of Robert Fisk's dispatches (cached at
will attest.

The IBC site has links to UK agencies aiding Iraq, including OXFAM, SAVE THE
CHILDREN, CHRISTIAN AID, ACTION AID, and CAFOD.  Donations are urgently needed.
Link through

There are reports of cholera ourbreaks in Basra and possibly in Hilla.  We
invaders were simply not prepared for war's consequences, as Ramzi Kysia makes
clear below.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

Heavy-handed & Hopeless,
The U.S. Military Doesn't Know What It's Doing In Iraq
by Ramzi Kysia

BAGHDAD (16 April, 2003) - Voices in the Wilderness representatives met today
with the U.S. Military's Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) in their
headquarters at the Palestine Hotel to discuss the emergency, humanitarian
crisis facing Baghdad. Trash removal has not occurred for a month. Electricity,
Sanitation and Communications were all seriously damaged during the U.S. war,
and have yet to be restored in Baghdad. Cholera outbreaks have been reported in
Basra, and rumored to have been found in the central Iraqi city of Hilla. Some
of the local clinics are up and running, but medications for conditions such as
hypertension and diabetes are no longer available. Quality control equipment and
systems are also unavailable, and the lack of quality control could lead to
serious problems in treatment, as well as creating the potential for epidemics
due to contaminated blood products.

The previous distribution system set up under the "Oil-for-Food" program is in
total collapse, and - unless essential services are immediately restored - Iraq
faces a humanitarian catastrophe.

Prior to the war, the Pentagon set up Humanitarian Operations Coordination
Centers (the HOC in Qatar and Kuwait, and the HAC in Jordan), as well as
disaster assistance response teams (DART), to coordinate relief efforts between
the U.S. military and United Nations and non-governmental organizations. Not
only are HOC, HAC, and DART personnel not in Baghdad yet, CMOC was not even
aware of the existence of these other military-humanitarian coordinating bodies.

CMOC reported that they did not yet have a plan for how to restore essential
services in Baghdad, but are working on creating such a plan today. However,
that information will not be publicly available for review, and will only be
shared with organizations that agree to work with the U.S. military in Baghdad -
cutting out any humanitarian agency that insists on maintaining neutrality.

CMOC also reported that they spent several days locating hospitals, power
plants, and water & sanitation plants in order to do needs assessments.
Apparently no one in the U.S. military thought to ask the United Nations, or
other international organizations working in Iraq, for any of this information
prior to, or even after, the fall of Baghdad. The World Health Organization and
the Red Cross have been working in Iraq for years. The United Nations
Development program has been working to assist Iraq in restoring electricity
since 1996. Locations and assessments of civilian infrastructures are not secret
information - except in the Pentagon's world. Why didn't anyone ask for this
information? Why wasn't a plan for rehabilitation developed prior to the war?

When told that of rumors of a cholera outbreak in Hilla, CMOC even asked Voices
in the Wilderness where that neighborhood was located in Baghdad - unaware that
Hilla is a major Iraqi city located approximately 1 hour south of Baghdad!

The biggest problem CMOC reported is the lack of local workers needed to get
civilian systems up and running. However, CMOC seemed unaware that the mostly
unmanned roadblocks put up throughout the city are making it difficult for
anyone to get to work, as is the lack of a coordinating body responsible for
organizing these efforts.

- A coordinating body, not associated with any military organization, needs to
be created to direct humanitarian assessment and relief efforts by all of the
agencies working, or seeking to work, in Iraq. Previously, this was the corrupt,
but functional, Iraqi Red Crescent Society.

- Senior-level administrators at hospitals and other civilian centers fled with
the collapse of the previous regime. This has led to chaotic conditions where
lower-level staff are unsure who, if anyone, has the authority to make urgent
decisions. This "power vacuum" must be immediately filled by creating new,
decision-making-structures, not corrupted by the previous regime.

- The U.S. military has demonstrated that it is neither prepared, nor interested
in becoming prepared, to deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by their war.
The international community must exert itself, and return UN control to dealing
with this crisis, until Iraqis can form a government of their own to deal with
the problems created by 12 years of sanctions and war.

Time is short.

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