On September 26, 1995, the World Food Programme (WFP) alerted, once again, the International Community on the critical nutritional situation of the civilian population in Iraq due to sanctions.
Returning from a two-week assessment mission in Iraq, Dieter Hannusch, Chief Emergency Support Officer of the WFP, said what he had seen was comparable to the worst scenarios in his 24 years of field work, most of which had been undertaken in Africa, beginning in Biafra.
WFP team also reached the following conclusions:
"There actually are more that 4 million people, a fifth of Iraq's population, at severe nutritional risk," "that number includes 2.4 million children under five, about 600,000 pregnant/nursing women and destitute women heads of household as well as hundred of thousands elderly without anyone to help them."
The main Problem is that money has lost its value in Iraq and 70 percent of the population has little or no access to food because of their almost total lack of purchasing power.
The Only thing that has kept people from outright starvation was the government ration that covered only about 50 percent of their minimum calorie requirements with a serious lack of protein. Even this minimal support does not extend to people in the North.
The pediatric wards of functioning hospital housed "extreme cases of malnutrition hardly ever seen in any other chronically food deficit country." Lack of protein is causing irreversible damage to both the physical and mental health of small children, it said.
The incidence of severe malnourishment and stunting among children under the age of five was reported to be about 29 percent, comparable to that of mali. Many children exhibited the 'old man's faces' that signal marasmus. The Iraqi government reported an infant mortality rate of 92 per thousand live births and an under-five mortality rate of 128 per thousand live births.
These conclusions confirm what the Secretary General of the United Nations stated in his report on the Work of the Organization of August 22, 1995 (U.N. Document A/50/1) : "At least 4 million people (in Iraq) are in need of food assistance and hunger threatens the lives of over 1 million among them."
While the United Nations celebrates these days its 50th anniversary, U.N. Members should examine carefully the actual human catastrophe in Iraq caused by resolutions taken on their behalf. United Nations members have the moral and legal obligation to endeavor to stop this Genocide.