Shahzad Bhatti

November 21, 2004

Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago

Filed under: Politics — admin @ 10:44 am

Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago

Iraq’s child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi, a central African nation torn by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than rates in Uganda and Haiti.

By one count, 60 percent of rural residents and 20 percent of urban dwellers have access only to contaminated water. The country’s sewer systems are in disarray.

“Even myself, I suffer from the quality of water,” said Zina Yahya, 22, a nurse in a Baghdad maternity hospital. “If you put it in a glass, you can see it’s turbid. I’ve heard of typhoid cases.”

The nutrition surveys indicated that conditions are worst in Iraq’s largely poor, overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim south, an area alternately subject to neglect and persecution during Hussein’s rule. But doctors say malnutrition occurs wherever water is dirty, parents are poor and mothers have not been taught how to avoid disease.

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