Iraq

Canadian-led report predicts massive child death toll in Iraq

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A team of experts in health, nutrition, child psychology and emergency preparedness arrived back in Canada yesterday following an assessment mission to Iraq to investigate the impact of a new war on the more than 13 million Iraqi children.
The Team forecasts a 'grave humanitarian disaster' in its report prepared by 10 experts from the International Study Team (IST).

A press conference will take place on Thursday, January 30 at 11:30 a.m. in the Charles Lynch Room on Parliament Hill. The final report, entitled "Our Common Responsibility - the Impact of a New War on Iraqi Children" will be released at the press conference. There will be an opportunity to discuss the findings of the report with representatives from the International Study Team. One-on-one interviews with team members will also be possible following the press conference.

The team's backers include more than 20 Canadian non-governmental organizations and charities. As an independent group, they did not receive any help from the Iraqi government.

The experts found that 500,000 Iraqi children are already malnourished, and Iraq currently has only one month's supply of food and three months of medicine remaining.

"While it is impossible to predict both the nature of any war and the number of expected deaths and injuries, casualties among children will be in the thousands, probably in the tens of thousands and possibly in the hundreds of thousands," Canadian team leader and medical doctor Eric Hoskins said. Dr. Hoskins has been to Iraq more than 25 times.

The report's findings are based on data collected in three Iraqi cities - Baghdad, Karbala and Basra - and include interviews with more than 100 families. Child psychologists interviewed more than 300 children to determine their mental health condition and found they have 'a great fear' of a new war. Children as young as four and five had clear concepts of the horrors of war.

"Iraq's 13 million children are at grave risk of starvation, disease, death and psychological trauma," Dr. Samantha Nutt, the Team's health expert said, summing up the survey findings conducted January 20-26. "Iraqi children are more vulnerable than ever."

The Team's report has been sent to the Security Council and the Government of Iraq, as well as the Canadian government.

Team members returned to Canada Tuesday morning from Baghdad and are available for interviews beginning Thursday, January 30th. Video footage of the Team's assessment in Iraq is available on APTN and Reuters, or through the contact below.

The International Study Team's report on the humanitarian situation in Iraq following the 1991 war was considered the most comprehensive of such reports.

For more information:

Aubrey Charette, Communications Director, War Child Canada
416-971-7474, Cell 416-949-0532, email aubrey@warchild.ca