Iraq: Post war update

News and Press Release
Originally published
MAIC has been operating within Iraq for a number of years and now, more than ever, medical aid is desperately needed. Prior to the war, Iraqi hospitals were in need of supplies especially medicines, surgical items and medical equipment.
The casualties sustained throughout the conflict, the subsequent looting that ensued stripping the hospitals of their most basic supplies, and the repercussions of the conflict such as the disruption of electricity, water treatment and delays in humanitarian relief distribution mean that the situation in Iraq is even more critical.

For this reason MAIC will give periodic updates on the website on both MAIC's role and the overall humanitarian situation within the country.


One of the main problems for hospitals and aid delivery in general is that of security. Immediately after the war, looting became rife with looters targeting hospitals and in some cases stealing even their most basic supplies.

In a country suffering from a grave rise in casualties, lack of medical supplies and understaffed, overstretched hospitals the looting had very serious effects: all patients in the Al-Kindi hospital were sent elsewhere due to the danger posed to them by the looting, and the Al-Rashad psychiatric hospital was looted and burnt with 1,200 patients, including children, turned out on the street in chaos.

The internal situation has begun to calm down, but security is still a problem making the distribution of aid a most pressing concern.

  • Due to the absence of local government and the affected infrastructure of the country, the sanitary conditions in hospitals has greatly suffered with reports of rubbish piling up uncollected, staff being unable to safely reach work and supplies of fuel and clean water in great need.

  • Water is one of the biggest immediate needs as there is little access to potable water which is also needed to sterilise equipment and to clean the hospitals.

  • Many patients are at risk from potentially deadly infections such as septicaemia.

  • In rural areas and all around the country due to unsanitary conditions, the lack of water and sewage treatments, many people and children in particular, have contracted a number of water-borne diseases such as: cholera, black fever, typhoid, gastroenteritis and other diarrhoeal diseases.

  • Carol Bellamy, head of operations for UNICEF, said in an interview that one Baghdad hospital had received 300 cases of children suffering from acute diarrhoea within the space of 3 hours.

  • There are insufficient laboratory facilities such as culture kits to check for diseases in order to prescribe the correct antibiotic.

  • They are all lacking supplies such as anaesthetics, morphine, insulin and antibiotics due to the difficulty of stocking up prior to the war as a result of international sanctions. Hence, many emergency operations have been performed without anaesthetic.

  • In Basra, premature babies have died due to a lack of oxygen for the incubators.

  • They are lacking basic supplies such as dressings, external fixators for compound fractures, splints, plaster of paris, antibiotics, sedatives, chest tubes, syringes and tracheotomy tubes.

  • MAIC has identified the main casualties as those suffering from burns, injuries, amputations, water-borne diseases, chest infections from pollution and an expected rise in cancers.

MAIC works directly with the hospitals and doctors in Iraq and through them finds out and provides the medical supplies which are most needed. Feeling the need to act quickly and to provide as much humanitarian relief as possible MAIC has set up an Emergency War Relief Fund alongside the pre-existing mainstream account.

MAIC is happy to announce that it has sent two shipments of aid which left the UK on 1st May 2003 and should be arriving imminently. MAIC would like to thank Virgin who agreed to take the two shipments on one of the first flights into the country.

The supplies will be distributed to five hospitals in Baghdad, Kerbala and Basra, which are: Al Mansour Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Medical City, Baghdad; Central Paediatric Teaching Hospital, Al-Tifl Al-Markazi, Baghdad; Kadisiya General Hospital, paediatric section, Baghdad; Basra Paediatric Hospital, Basra; Kerbala Children's Hospital, Kerbala.


MAIC is pleased to announce that we the shipments recently sent to Iraq with Virgin Airlines arrived in Basra International Airport on the 2nd May 2003 and were immediately placed in safe storage. We have received assurances from Colonel John T Graham (the British medical officer) that the supplies will be shortly delivered to the intended recipient hospitals.

Shipment 19:

  • Funded through the MAIC mainstream account.

  • The compiled medical list was sent to The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for UN approval on the 28th November 2002 in the hope that it could be delivered prior to the war but was unable to go through at that time as the DTI export licence was issued on 10th March 2003.

  • The UN and DTI approval took three and a half months and the shipment had been waiting till safe entry and distribution could be guaranteed.

  • It includes medical supplies such as antibiotics, surgical items and cancer drugs.

  • Most of the items totalling =A3144,890.98 have been sent to Iraq with Virgin providing free transport. The remaining items will follow in the coming weeks.
Shipment 20:
  • Funded through the Emergency War Relief Fund.

  • UN/ DTI approval took 9 days which is an appreciated and encouraging step forward.

  • Has been compiled during the war.

  • Includes two complete medical kits in accordance with the WHO specifications, 200 wheelchairs for both children and adults, 300 pairs of crutches for both children and adults, baby milk, soya milk and stands for transfusions.

  • Most items of this shipment, totalling =A356,520 have been sent along with Shipment 19 to Iraq, the remaining items will follow in the upcoming weeks.
Shipment 21:
  • Funded through the Emergency War Relief Fund.

  • This new medical supply list has been sent to the DTI for approval.

  • Includes emergency medical supplies such as anaesthetics, burn treatments, antibiotics, cancer drugs, disinfectants and surgical items.

MAIC is pleased to announce its first official fundraising event for the Emergency War Relief Fund. This will take place on 11th June 2003 at The Royal College of Physicians. There will be speakers, whose talks will be followed by refreshments and a raffle.

MAIC has been overwhelmed by the concern and generosity so many people have shown and would like to thank everyone who has donated to the either of the two funds - your support is invaluable. MAIC would also like to thank some people who have most recently put together fund-raising events, the innovativeness and good will shown is deeply appreciated.

  • MAIC would like to thank the Oxford University Islamic Society for donating their general collection to the charity.

  • Durham Diocesan Board has raised funds for which MAIC thanks them.

  • Paston School Pupils raised funds and MAIC would like to thank them for their contribution.

  • The HOPE Foundation is a newly founded organisation whose aim is to combat leukaemia in children in 'war torn' countries. For Phase 1 of HOPE, MAIC will be the beneficiary charity. The official launch was on 17th April 2003 and MAIC is happy to state that since then donations have been coming in and would like to thank everyone who has lent their support. There will be a fundraising Gala at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 26th September 2003.

  • St. Gregory's Choral Society and Orchestra raised funds through a concert on Sunday 13th April 2003. Many thanks to all who organised and contributed to the event especially the conductor Martin Wyatt and Nicola Greenwood the soprano.

  • Dr. Victor Chua held a party for friends in which he raised funds for the charity for which MAIC thanks him for.

  • Reverend John Stephenson of St. Chad's Church in East Herrington, Sunderland. MAIC would like to thank the Reverend John Stephenson for his continuous support in actively raising congregational funds.

  • Margaret and Mike Wright who fundraised through posting letters through letterboxes in their area calling for donations. MAIC would like to thank them for their initiative in raising funds.

  • The Speyside High School who through the Young Enterprise Scotland Program have set up their own mini enterprise company. We would like to thank all those who have shown such initiative in their successful endeavour of selling calendars to raise money and then from their profits donating to various charities of which MAIC was a recipient.

  • Nottingham Friends of the Iraqi People have been raising awareness and funds in support of medical aid to paediatric hospitals in Iraq for which MAIC would like to thank them.

  • MAIC would like to thank the Chipping Campden School for the generous funds which the school raised in support of the charity.

  • Sussan Panahizadi-Booth and Maryam Homayoun-Eisler have organised a fundraising event at the Blake's Hotel, London on Thursday 8th May 2003. MAIC would like to thank them both in advance and to wish them luck in their event.

  • Mr and Mrs Wasif Haroun have kindly asked their friends to donate to MAIC rather than purchase presents in celebration of Mr. Haroun's birthday this year for which they are holding a party. MAIC would like to thank them both for their generosity.

  • Mayssa Ibrahim who on occasion of her birthday has asked her friends to donate to the charity. MAIC would like to thank her very much for this.

  • Mrs Silvia Edwards has an exhibition of her paintings on 28th May 2003. MAIC would like to thank Mrs Edwards who will kindly donate a percentage of the sale of her book during her exhibition to the charity.

  • Julian Gallant from Ensemble Productions Ltd is organising the St. Peter's Gala Concert with the Russian Chamber Orchestra to be held in St. John Smith Square on 28th May 2003. MAIC would like to thank them for their promised donation of a percentage of their proceeds.

  • Andrew Constantine international orchestral conductor will be organising a concert at the Royal Festival Hall in support of the charity. MAIC would like to thank Mrs. Latifa Kosta and Mr. Constantine for helping in organising the event and to thank everyone taking part in the concert, which will take place mid to end of June.
Any inquiries or comments are most welcome and should be addressed to the editor, Maya Askari.