Posted by Stella (188.8.131.52) on February 06, 2002 at 13:51:19:
This is from the Iraqi Sanctions Moniter from the Mariam Appeal website.
Iraq says sanctions kill 15,000 in December.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Over 15,000 Iraqis died in December due to diseases that Baghdad blames on the regime of United Nations sanctions imposed 11 years ago, an Iraqi newspaper has reported.
The embargo, punishment for Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, has ruined Iraq's infrastructure and caused living standards to fall.
The Health Ministry was quoted by Al-Jumhuriya as saying 7,007 children under the age of five had died of diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition diseases, while 8,329 people had died of heart and kidney problems, diabetes and cancers.
Iraq said last month it had received less than half of the medical supplies it had ordered under the U.N. oil-for-food programme, accusing the United states and Britain of delaying arrival of supplies.
The oil-for-food programme allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil to buy goods for civilian use. But the oil revenues are controlled by the United Nations, which pays the suppliers of the goods Iraq orders.
The United States and Russia began two days of talks in Geneva on Wednesday on a plan to revise the sanctions and ease the flow of food and medicines while keeping a tight embargo on its access to arms.
Washington has proposed so-called "smart sanctions" that would go some way towards meeting international concern that the measures hit too hard at Iraq's long-suffering population.
Al-Jumhuriya quoted the Health Ministry as saying 184,764 people, including 84,012 children under the age of five, died last year.
It said the latest figures brought to 1,629,593 the number of people who have died since the imposition of sanctions in 1990, to December 2001.
Benon Sevan, executive director of the U.N. humanitarian oil programme, criticised the nearly $5 billion (3.5 billion pounds) in blocked supplies to Iraq. Sevan is in Iraq to review the programme with U.N. and Iraqi officials.
Another Iraqi newspaper said on Wednesday Iraq had defused over 11,000 unexploded bombs from the 1991 Gulf War, in the southern province of Meissan last year.
Al-Qadissiya newspaper quoted the head of the region's civil defence force as saying the bombs were found in residential areas and on farms.
Iraq's official press carries occasional reports of people being killed or wounded by bombs dropped during the U.S.-led campaign to oust Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
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