8 million Iraqis need urgent aid: Report

July 31, 2007 - 0:0

Baghdad (The Guardian) -- One third of the Iraqi population needs emergency aid because of the humanitarian crisis caused by war and ongoing violence, according to a new report.

Around 8 million Iraqis are in urgent need of water, sanitation, food and shelter, a joint report (pdf)released today by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq said.
The document said that although armed violence is the greatest threat facing Iraqis, the population is also experiencing another crisis of ""an alarming scale and severity"".
It was published as Gordon Brown met the U.S. president, George Bush, determined to shift the focus in UK-U.S. relations from Iraq to less divisive issues such as trade.
Mr. Brown wants a quicker withdrawal of troops than the Bush administration. A report by the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, due in September, is expected to provide cover for a more rapid pullout.
Researchers found that 15% of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat, 70% do not have adequate water supplies (up from 50% in 2003), 28% of children are malnourished (compared with 19% before the invasion), and 92% of children suffer learning problems.
Oxfam called for a doubling of the monthly $100 (£50) cash allowances to households headed by widows, which would cost $2.4bn a year.
The UN, especially the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has a vital role to play in the provision of humanitarian assistance, the report said