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July 30, 2001
Press Release from Human Relief Foundation on Iraq




ISSUED BY: Human Relief Foundation

Human Relief Foundation is a registered charity that has been working in Iraq since 1991. HRF continuously visits Iraq to implement projects and to assess their effectiveness. On the 7th July HRF sent a delegation representing different donor organization to view and evaluate the latest humanitarian situation around the main cities of the country and to be present at the ceremony of the finishing of the MISAN water treatment plant. The delegation also observed the distribution of high protein nutritious food basket to over 5000 families / Baghdad & Albasra, distribution of scientific & medical magazines; BMJ & Nature, Medicine and the furnishing of the sewing and computer center at the city of Almousul. The following is a summary of the dire situation currently prevalent in Iraq:

1-Health: Continuous sever lack of medicine; third generation antibiotics, Ventoline, Ibuprofen, Glycerol trinitrate/ tablets and spray, Isosorbide Monotritrate and many others, and basic hospital requirements; formaldehyde, anesthetic, plastic bags for blood transfusion, blue cannulas, and specialized spare parts. The country is also witnessing a great increase of cancer cases due to exposure to Depleted Uranium (Felicity notes that there may be other pollutant weapons contributing to this terrible increase in cancers). Cases of Acute myeloblastic leukemia, Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Osteosarcoma, Burkitt's and non-Burkitt's lymphoma, and Neuroblastoma have increased very rapidly particularly during the last five years. Dr E. Assa'doon told us that there is an increase of 60% in leukemia cases in and around Albasra city compared to last year. Children are still dying at the rate of 4000 per month due a lack of medication and health care.

2-Salary: Average salary for employees at government offices is 3000-10,000 dinars per month (the equivalent of 1-4). This is particularly unbearable considering the price of commodities. Meat costs 3000 dinars per kilo, chicken costs 1500 dinars per kilo, 50 dinars for a piece of bread, 75-100 dinars for a single egg, 400 dinars for a single banana etc.

3-Primary and Secondary Education: Families are still forced to withdraw children from schools in order to generate a secondary income. They are unable to afford the education in any event. A single pencil costs 100 dinars, a basic homework book costs 550 dinars, and pencil sharpeners and erasers cost 200 dinars each.

4-University Education: Students are denied access to the WWW, text books and circulars. So called 'specialists' in professions are many years behind the rest of the world as they are denied access to International conferences, medical & scientific magazines or journals by the UN 'sanction committee'. For those few who do manage to complete a degree, they are incredibly unlikely to secure employment. A university graduate is fortunate to get a laborer's job.

5-Social Life: Due to the price of commodities and low salaries, people are unable to get married. They are forced to look after their families and cannot introduce new members into them. A new phenomenon has emerged shops for second hand furniture and second hand books. As the intellectual community finds it self forced to sell books and related material in order to meet their every day needs.
A society that was used to purchasing new modern furniture has been reduced to partaking in auctions for second hand items such as electrical plugs and doors. This degradation is extenuated by the fact that any purchase is at the expense of another essential item such as food for a week.

The delegation has learnt a great deal about the new situation in Iraq and came back determined to spread the word and to do all in order to help the nation of Iraq over this bad living conditions.

Please contact the Human Relief Foundation if you would like to know more.

Tel:01274 392727
Fax:01274 739992