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How Many Must Die?

How          Many Must Die?

According to figures cited by United Nations officials, more than 1 million people -- including 750,000 children below the age of five -- have died in Iraq as a result of scarcity of food and medicine. Furthermore, 32% of Iraqi children under five are chronically malnourished. Almost one-quarter are considered underweight, twice as high as the levels in neighboring Jordan or Turkey, according to a 1997 UNICEF report.

UNICEF investigators point out that "malnutrition was not a health problem in Iraq prior to the embargo. Its extent became apparent during 1991, and the prevalence has increased greatly since then."

Every day, an estimated 250 people die as a result of health problems related to the sanctions. Children under age five, who account for almost half of such deaths, are dying mainly due to diarrhea, pneumonia, and malnutrition.

Prior to sanctions, health care in Iraq was free and first-rate. Not any more. Now all the public hospitals lack even adequate sanitation and are forced to charge patients for most services.

Furthermore, the sanctions include an "intellectual boycott," which cuts Iraqis off from international medical and scientific advances. For almost a decade, Iraqi physicians have been without access to current medical literature or contact with health professionals in other countries.

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