The Deadly Effects of Sanctions on Iraq

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Posted by Tony from ( on Saturday, September 28, 2002 at 0:36AM :

The Deadly Effects
of Sanctions on Iraq
There can be no justification for the death and malnutrition for which sanctions are responsible. We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that….

These are the words of Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General, who resigned after 34 years of service in protest of the sanctions. On August 6, 1990, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Iraq withdrew from Kuwait in early 1991, but the blockade continues ten years later. The results have been devastating.

Iraq “has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty.” [March 1999 U.N. Report]

Iraq’s GDP fell by 2/3 in 1991, owing to an 85% decline in oil production and the devastation of the industrial and services sectors of the economy. Per capita income fell from $3,416 U.S. dollars in 1984 to less than $1,036 in 1998. Other sources estimate a per capita decrease as low as $450 U.S. dollars in 1995. [IMF and March 1999 U.N. Report]

Food and nutrition
In July of 1995, average shop prices of essential commodities stood at 850 times the July 1990 levels. [March 1999 U.N. Report]

“Alarming food shortages are causing irreparable damage to an entire generation of Iraqi children.” [September 1995 UN Report] One-fourth of Iraqi children under the age of five are malnourished. [March 1999 U.N. Report]

The dietary energy supply fell from 3.120 to 1.093 kilocalories per capita/per day by 1994-95. As many as 70% of Iraqi women are suffering from anemia. [March 1999 U.N. Report]

Government drug warehouses and pharmacies have few stocks of medicines and medical supplies. The consequences of this situation are causing a near-breakdown of the health care system. [February 1997 World Health Organization] “Infant mortality rates in Iraq today are among the highest in the world.” [March 1999 U.N. Report]

The sanctions have contributed to the death of over one million Iraqis, half of them children. More than 200 people die each day in Iraq. 5,000 to 6,000 die each month. [UNICEF & Denis Halliday]

Water and sanitation
Access to potable water, relative to 1990 levels, is only 50% in urban areas and 33% in rural areas. The overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water has contributed to the rapid spread of infectious disease. Raw sewage often flows into streets and homes. [World Food Program]

Electrical power
In 1990, Iraq had 126 power station units capable of generating 8.903 Mw of power. Today, the capacity is about 3.500 Mw [March 1999 U.N. Report]

School enrollment for all ages (6-23) has declined to 53%. Some schools with a planned capacity of 700 pupils actually have 4,500 enrolled in them. [March 1999 U.N. Report,]

Substantive progress in reducing adult and female illiteracy has ceased and regressed to mid-1980 levels. The rising number of street children and children who work can be explained, in part, as a result of increasing rates of school drop-outs and repetition, as more families are forced to rely on children to secure household incomes. [UNESCO]

-- Tony
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