Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Civilians Without Protection: International Red Cross Reports Ever-Worsening Conditions For Civilians In Worn-Torn Iraq

"The situation for civilians in Iraq is ''ever-worsening,'' even though security in some places has improved as a result of stepped-up efforts by U.S.-led multinational forces, the international Red Cross said Wednesday.

Thousands of bodies lie unclaimed in mortuaries, with family members either unaware that they are there or too afraid to go to recover them, according to a key official with the neutral agency. Medical professionals also have been fleeing the country after cases where their colleagues were killed or abducted, the group said.

''Whatever operation that is today under way, and that may be taken tomorrow and in the weeks after, to improve the security of civilians on the ground may have an effect in the medium term,'' said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, director of operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross, or ICRC.

''We're certainly not seeing an immediate effect in terms of stabilization for civilians currently. That is not our reading,'' he said.

Kraehenbuehl spoke in releasing a new ICRC report titled ''Civilians Without Protection: The Ever-worsening Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq.''" ...

Associated Press "Red Cross: Iraq Is 'Ever- Worsening'" New York Times April 11, 2007

Iraqi civilian Abdallah Yaqoob. Does he and his family see a world of possibilities?

'On March 25, 2003 Abdallah Yaqoob was sleeping along with his family when a cluster munition strike hit his neighbourhood in Basra. Shrapnel came through the window and nearly cut off his left arm and opened his abdomen. While the family escaped to the
hospital Abdallah’s father tried to keep Abdallah’s intenstines inside his body and prevent his arm from coming off completely. Abdallah, his family and the rest of Hay al-Zeitun neighbourhood know very well why they were hit by the British forces: Iraqi forces were hiding in the neighbourhood. Abdallah was hit by British L20A1/M85 grenades. ”I stayed after the attack to watch the house. I clearly saw the bombs
because there were four left behind around our house and many more in the whole neighbourhood”, says Ali, Abdallah’s older brother.

Today Abdallah’s arm is buried not far away from his house.'

Photo and caption credit: (c) Kirsten Hjørnholm Sørensen and Danish Church Aid. With thanks.


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