A Harvard University medical team has confirmed findings of an earlier United Nations delegation to Iraq. The Harvard team, which visited 11 Iraqi cities recently, says it expects around 170,000 deaths of children under five as a direct result of war damage to Iraq's infrastructure.
With Iraqi power generation down to 20% of its prewar capacity, many sewage treatment and drinking water systems have collapsed. There have already been cholera and typhoid outbreaks, and these could develop into epidemics in the hot season. Dr Dominic Dutour of the International Red Cross estimates that 94,000 children in southern Iraq could die of diarrhoea and waterborne diseases if medication is not made available.
As well, malnutrition is widespread. Dr Ezin Murzil of UNICEF has said up to 80% of children under one year are affected in some areas.
The United States, under United Nations cover, is still maintaining sanctions against Iraq, severely limiting attempts at postwar reconstruction. In its latest offer, the UN demanded that Iraqi export earnings should be paid into an account controlled by UN secretary general Javier Perez de Cuellar