Thursday, 26 April 2007

Iraq vaccination campaign tackles measles

Iraq's children are being helped this week as plans are revealed that the MMR vaccination is going to be given to 3.9 million children, in an attempt to close an immunity gap.

Being a child in Iraq you live a life that could be ended any minute from a roadside bomb or gunmen running into your school. Despite this ongoing violence and threat, the government and international aid agencies started a major immunisation drive on Sunday to avert an outbreak of measles.

Claire Hajaj, UNICEF’s chief of communications at its Iraq Support Centre in Amman (ISCA), said to Middle East Online: "One million children have no immunity to measles - more than enough to spark a dangerous outbreak in which many children could die or be left with lasting disabilities."

The US $10 million, two-week campaign is being led by the Iraqi Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and from the European Commission. It hopes to reach 3.9 million Iraqi children aged between one and five with the combined MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

Previously, vaccinators have been unable to reach all children in Iraq because of insecurity, particularly in restive areas. This time, vaccinators are employing different strategies to reach children.

Muhammad Obaidi, media officer for the secretary of health in Anbar province, said he was concerned for the safety of vaccinators in dangerous areas.

“We have been trying to speak with the representatives of all the fighting groups in these hot spot areas - as well as the military and the local population - to guarantee that vaccinators can reach children safely. But nowadays we should be careful all the time and not trust anybody as we never know with whom we are dealing,” Obaidi said.

Vaccinators said they were scared of encountering violence in the course of the immunisation campaign but that their overwhelming sense of humanitarian duty to save Iraqi children kept them optimistic.

Middle East Online

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Iraq: Amnesty International

Amnesty International yesterday warned that the Middle East is on the verge of a new humanitarian crisis unless the European Union, US and other states take urgent and concrete measures to assist the more than three million people forcibly displaced by the conflict in Iraq.

Amnesty International is calling on the US, EU and other states to establish generous resettlement programmes in order to assist Iraqi refugees, especially the most vulnerable and at risk, to start new lives well away from the conflict zone, and to afford all refugees and rejected asylum seekers effective protection.

They explain: "The vast majority of Iraqi families in Jordan are unable to send their children to school because they cannot afford private education. They are also unable to send their children to public schools because they do not have valid residency permits. As a result, a whole generation of Iraqis is being denied a fundamental human right, the right to education."

Read more:
Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Iraq: Amnesty International

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Children of U.S occupation

An article on the Press TV website tells of research findings into the welfare of Iraqi children and asks:

"What has Bush brought for the children of Iraq? Four years of occupation in Iraq has not only crippled the country but also set the scene for what we can see today of innocent children scavenging in garbage dumps to find something with what they could pass the day."

Al-Qaeda Paying US Dollars for Child Recruits in Baghdad

"Today, I help some men who say they are from al-Qaeda group. They fight people who are occupying Iraq and they said that if I do my work well, God will protect me and make me be a healthy boy," Barak, a 13 year old Iraqi child said, adding that fighters promised him that he would soon join his mother in heaven.

Read more:
BBSNews - Al-Qaeda Paying US Dollars for Child Recruits in Baghdad

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Global Research highlights the devastated health of Iraqi children

A recent UNDP backed study in Iraq has shown that a combination of sanctions, war and occupation has resulted in Iraq showing the world's worst evolution in child mortality: from an under-five mortality rate of 50 per 1000 live births in 1990, to 125 in 2005.

This is an annual deterioration of 6.1 per cent - a world record, well behind very poor and AIDS affected Botswana.

According to Iraqi Health Ministers the rate of child deaths has increased to 130 in 2006 even though at the outset of the 2003 war, the US administration pledged to cut Iraq's child mortality rate in half by 2005.

According to the United Nations Children's Agency (UNICEF), about one in 10 Iraqi children under five are underweight (acutely malnourished) and one in five are short for their age (chronically malnourished). Poor nutrition equals bad health.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Claire Hajaj, communications officer at the UNICEF Iraq Support Centre in Amman, who said: "Many Iraqi children may also be suffering from 'hidden hunger' - deficiencies in critical vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks for children's physical and intellectual development."

Hayder Hussainy, a senior official at the Iraqi Ministry of Health, states that approximately 50 per cent of Iraqi children suffer from some form of malnourishment.

Also important is the psychological impact of war and occupation. In a study entitled "The Psychological Effects of War on Iraqis", the Association of Iraqi Psychologists (AIP) reports that out of 2,000 people interviewed in all 18 Iraqi provinces, 92 per cent said they feared being killed in an explosion. Some 60 per cent of those interviewed said the level of violence had caused them to have panic attacks, which prevented them from going out because they feared they would be the next victims.

The AIP also surveyed over 1,000 children across Iraq and found that 92 per cent of children examined had learning impediments, largely attributable to the current climate of fear and insecurity. AIP's Marwan Abdullah, said: "The only thing they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the US occupation."

Information from:War Crimes: Pity the sick of Iraq

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

World Vision Assists Children Fleeing from Iraq

An estimated 50,000 refugees each month are joining the two million Iraqis who have already left their volatile homeland since 2003.

Now World Vision Canada has launched a combined advocacy and relief effort to assist children and families fleeing to neighbouring countries from Iraq, as violence continues to precipitate the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East in half a century.

Emmanuel Isch, vice-president of International and Canadian programming for World Vision Canada, said: "The plight of Iraqi refugee children is still largely a hidden crisis, but we want to help change that."

Many are struggling to cope without access to health care, legal income, or education for their children in host countries including Jordan and Syria.

Through local partners, World Vision is assisting 10,000 refugees in Jordan with food, basic household items, healthcare and special programmes for children who cannot attend school.

Christian Today – Christian News > World Vision Assists Children Fleeing from Iraq

Iraqi children suffer bad water diseases

Doctors express concern over spread of waterborne diseases as Iraqi's pay high prices to obtain clean water.

Parents in Iraq are having to set aside huge portions of their income to pay for water from private tankers as the tap water is said to be ridden with diseases.

Middle East Online

Monday, 2 April 2007

News: Bomb explodes near Iraqi school

At least 20 children who had been playing at a nearby school have been wounded when a suicide bomber blew up a truck today. Read the full story here:BBC NEWS World Middle East Bomb explodes near Iraqi school

Hawaii reporter gives an alternative view on the Depleted Uranium story

I previously told of the research into soaring child cancer rates and birth deformities in Iraqi children. All the research pointed to the depleted uranium (DU) munitions used by the US and British forces in Southern Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, and then even more during the 2003 invasion.

I found an article on the Hawaii Reporter: Hawaii Reporter website that appears to support the use of DU and claims:

"DU is a life saver for American soldiers. Because it is 70% more dense than lead, and when alloyed with tungsten tends to sharpen rather than flatten on impact, a DU round will zip right through enemy armor.

It then ignites causing ammunition and fuel to explode and burn, killing all the head-chopping Islamic fascists inside and thus saving hundreds of humans.

Equivalent lead ammunition would just bounce off. DU’s effectiveness reduces the number of shots needed to kill an enemy, thus reducing the risk posed by stray bullets to civilians.

DU is one of the reasons American deaths in Iraq are 3,250 compared to 58,000 in Vietnam or 33,000 in Korea. Low casualties are a major source of frustration for anti-Americans."

It goes on to say: "No Iraqi children will be affected by DU radiation; they are infinitely more at risk from radiation from the bright desert sun—and from the fascist Islamist baby killers who are inspired by propagandists such as Ms. Rose to believe they can defeat America by killing Iraqi children in front of TV cameras."

Is this writer an extreme nationalist who can't bear the fact that their country has possibly given nearly 1 in 5 Iraqi children birth deformities and cancer or are they right to support the American governments decision to use DU?