Front-line civilian agencies remind us of the real toll of the war. Here are excerpts from their latest communiques.
The scenes at al-Hilla's hospital on April 1 showed that something terrible had happened. The bodies of the men, women and children -- both dead and alive -- brought to the hospital were punctured with shards of shrapnel from cluster bombs. Videotape of the victims was judged too awful to show on television by Reuters and Associated Press editors. If, as accounts suggest, U.S. forces dropped cluster bombs in residential areas of al-Hilla, even if they were directed at military targets, such an action could constitute a disproportionate attack. This would be a grave breach of international humanitarian law. An independent and thorough investigation must be held.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivered surgical assistance to the Medical City hospital complex in Baghdad (650 beds). The complex has neither water nor power, and only six out of 27 operating theatres could still be used. The main hospitals now rely on their backup generators for electric power. Many have been working non-stop for three days now and risk breaking down.
International Committee of the Red Cross
The Food and Agricultural Organization's prime concern is the approaching harvest of the winter wheat and barley crop, expected to begin in late April and estimated at between 1.5 and 1.7 million tonnes of grain. Loss of the winter harvest, especially in Iraq's northern "bread basket" provinces, which account for more than half of the country's entire cereal production, would further aggravate what is already a difficult situation.
Food and Agricultural Organization
Hundreds of civilians are being injured every day, and children may find themselves without a mother, a father, brothers or sisters. Many of the "military casualties" we hear about are men whose children will now have to grow up without them.
World Health Organization
Baghdad is a city of 5 million people, half of them under the age of 18. Our extensive experience working with children in conflict has taught us there are debilitating consequences that last for years. These children and their families will never be the same.
land mines everywhere
Many houses in the village of Golp, near Halabja, have been destroyed, and many parts of the land are contaminated with unexploded ordnance.
Mine Advisory Group
With the majority of Iraqis set to exhaust their food reserves by May, the WFP plans to support a food distribution system capable of meeting the needs of up to 27.1 million Iraqis. The operation would see 1.6 million tonnes of food moved into Iraq over the coming six months. WFP has concluded contracts to purchase an unprecedented 400,000 tonnes of food. It is hoped these supplies can reach the region by late April or early May.
World Food Program
On Monday, the Al Kindi hospital received 19 casualties, many of them children, and some eventually died. There are some shortages of painkillers and anesthetic drugs
Doctors Without Borders
Iraqis responsible for past crimes should be prosecuted before an international tribunal, not the U.S.-sponsored, Iraqi-led judicial process outlined at the Pentagon today. The U.S. should support a tribunal composed of international jurists or a mixed tribunal composed of local and international legal experts.
Human Rights Watch