May 18, 2003 - Kansas City.com: Former Peace Corps Director Bellamy warns of Iraq humanitarian crisis

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 8:29 pm: Edit Post

Former Peace Corps Director Bellamy warns of Iraq humanitarian crisis





Read and comment on this story from Kansas City.com on Former Peace Corps Director Bellamy who warns that postwar Iraq could slip into a "major crisis" without quick action to meet its urgent humanitarian needs. Underscoring the magnitude of the problems facing Iraqi children after the war, Bellamy pointed out that, before the conflict, one in every eight Iraqi children died before age five and a quarter of Iraqi children were malnourished and did not attend school. "If action is not taken very fast," she warned, "this country will end up in a major crisis." Read the story at:

UNICEF warns of Iraq humanitarian crisis*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



UNICEF warns of Iraq humanitarian crisis

HAMZA HENDAWI
Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.N. agency that cares for the world's children warned Sunday that postwar Iraq could slip into a "major crisis" without quick action to meet its urgent humanitarian needs.

UNICEF's executive director Carol Bellamy, on a four-day visit to Iraq, said her agency was pressing to get more children back to school, deal with a worsening sanitation problem and remove potentially lethal ordnance left over from the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

She said UNICEF has secured pledges of $70 million for an emergency, six-month program to help provide Iraqi children with food and clean drinking water and to stave off disease. The funds, she added, were promised in response to an appeal made by the agency for $165 million for Iraq.

Underscoring the magnitude of the problems facing Iraqi children after the war, Bellamy pointed out that, before the conflict, one in every eight Iraqi children died before age five and a quarter of Iraqi children were malnourished and did not attend school.

"If action is not taken very fast," she warned, "this country will end up in a major crisis."

Bellamy cited a recent surge in cases of diarrhea among children in Iraq as a source of particular concern.

"The areas of sewage and solid waste management are more dangerous than the water situation," she said, citing poor sanitary conditions as the primary reason behind diarrhea. Clean water, she added, was more of a problem in rural Iraq than in cities.

She said a lack of security continued to impede UNICEF operations. She discussed the issue Saturday with L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator and top American official in Iraq.

"Security is the responsibility of the occupying forces under the Geneva conventions," Bellamy said, adding that Bremer, who took over a week ago, assured her that security was his top priority.

"I have seen nothing to indicate that it isn't," she said.

Bellamy said many parents were reluctant to send their children, particularly young ones and girls, to school because of security concerns.

"All kids must go back to school even if conditions are not perfect," she said. Toward this end, she added, UNICEF has undertaken a $14 million project to distribute school supplies to 3.5 million children in Iraq.


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