"Situation Analysis of Children and Women in Iraq"

UNICEF Report, 30 April 1998

Direct quotations and summary* information:

Health - increase of approximately 90,000 deaths yearly due to the sanctions (more than 250 people die every day) (pg. 42)

"The increase in mortality reported in public hospitals for children under five years of age (an excess of some 40,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is mainly due to diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. In those over five years of age, the increase (an excess of some 50,000 deaths yearly compared with 1989) is associated with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, liver or kidney diseases. With the substantial increase in mortality, under-registration of deaths is a growing problem." (pg. 42)

"Malnutrition was not a public health problem in Iraq prior to the embargo. Its extent became apparent during 1991 and the prevalence has increased greatly since then: 18% in 1991 to 31% in 1996 of [children] under five with chronic malnutrition (stunting); 9% to 26% with underweight malnutrition; 3% to 11% with wasting (acute malnutrition), an increase in over 200%. By 1997, it was estimated about one million children under five were [chronically] malnourished." (pg. 23 and 63).

"To address malnutrition efficiently, attention must be directed to all causal levels - direct (diet and health); underlying (household food security, care, water/sanitation, health services) and basic (education, resources - material, financial, human and organizational)." (pg. 74)

"The situation throughout Iraq remains to be one in which Child's Right to Survival and for the health care decreed by the Convention on Rights for the Child remains subject to overwhelming risks to life and health generated by the economic hardship." (pg. 40)

"[Before the 1990 sanctions] primary medical care reached about 97% of the urban population, and 78% of rural residents. [Now] the health system is affected by lack of even basic hospital and health centre equipment and supplies for medical, surgical and diagnostic services. In 1989, the [Iraqi] Ministry of Health spent more than US$500 million for drugs and supplies; the budget is [now] reduced by 90-95%. Although SCR 986 [the Oil-for-Food programme] is meant to provide US$210 million for each six month period of the Phase I and II, only US$80 million (i.e., 20%) had been received as of November 15, 1997." (pg. 7 and 40)

Oil for Food plan - not reduced widespread suffering, nor provided supplies in full, in a timely manner (pg. 2)

"The Oil-for-Food plan has not yet resulted in adequate protection of Iraq's children from malnutrition/disease. Those children spared from death continue to remain deprived of essential rights addressed in the Convention of Rights of the Child." (pg. 3)

"As of March 15, 1988, of the allocations [from the Oil-for-Food plan] for medicines/health, about 75% has arrived in-country for the South/Centre and 50% of the North; for water/sanitation, 59% and 27%; education 37% and 45%; and for electricity/power 48% and 10% each respectively for South Centre and North." (pg. 18)

(Lack of ) Water Sanitation - resulting in increases in diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera, and viral hepatitis (pg. 52)

"It is likely that lack of safe water and sanitation has contributed greatly to the steep rise in malnutrition rates and mortality. In accordance with [the Convention on the Rights of the Child], the goal for the year 2000 for universal access to safe drinking water and sanitary means of excreta disposal, is unlikely to be achieved with the continuation of the embargo." (pg. 31)

"Water treatment plants lack spare parts, equipment, treatment chemicals, proper maintenance and adequate qualified staff. Plants often act solely as pumping stations without any treatment The distribution network, on which most of the population relies, has destroyed, blocked or leaky pipes. There have been no new projects to serve the expected population increase over the past seven years." (pg. 32)

Economy - breakdown of socio-cultural fabric of the society, due to economic collapse (pg. i)

"By September 1995, the UN's Department of Humanitarian Affairs estimated about 4 million Iraqis (about 20%) lived in extreme poverty. The purchasing power of the local currency has been greatly reduced, from US$3 = 1 Iraqi Dinar (ID) in 1990 to about US $1 = ID1,500 in 1997." (pg. 9)

"Basic causes of malnutrition are dominated by the economic situation where the GDP per capita has [been] reduced from $3500 to $600 and the current salary of public workers now averages about $3 to $5 per month, compared with $50-100 prior to 1990. Accessibility to food beyond the amounts provided through public rations is limited by soaring food prices. At least 80% of a family's income is spent on food." (pg. 27 and 29)

Education - [military] Gulf War and sanctions resulting in limited access to and poor quality of education (pg. i)

"Historically, Iraq has given education a high priority. However, the protracted economic hardship on Iraqi population has seriously affected every level of formal and informal education. The extent of destruction of the education sector as a result of the [military] Gulf War was extensive." (pg. 80)

"As the unprecedented trend of declining school enrollment continues unabated, so does the related violation of the national Compulsory Education Law. Iraq, once honoured by UNESCO for its active promotion of Education, is now experiencing the unavoidable compromise of the Convention on the Rights of the Child for education. Information on access to education does not indicate the quality of education, nor the decline in school facilities. These include lack of the most basic school supplies such as blackboards, chalks, pencils, notebooks and paper (designated as "non-essential" by the Sanctions Committee), inaccessibility to any water, and absent or defunct sanitation." (pg. 87-88)

"84% of all schools need rehabilitation. The Oil for Food programme is providing a rather limited contribution to the improvement of [these] conditions." (pg. 88 and 96)