IRAQ: 4.5 million children undernourished
05 Mar 2007 06:37:00 GMT
BAGHDAD, 5 March (IRIN) – Apart from dodging bombs and bullets in their schools and neighbourhoods, children in Iraq are suffering from worryingly high levels of malnourishment, according to specialists.
Poverty and insecurity are said to be the main causes of the children’s deteriorating diets. Despite efforts by NGOs and the Iraqi government, violence and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people are making it very difficult for monthly food rations to reach those families that need them most.
“We are displaced and have to change our place [because of spreading sectarian violence] every month, making it difficult for us to get our food rations. As a result, our children are constantly ill and are malnourished because we don’t have enough money to afford good food,” said Samira Abdel-Kareem, a mother-of-three who was forced to flee her Yarmouk neighbourhood of Baghdad to the outskirts of the city.
“I lost a child three months ago because of malnutrition. He was only two years old. I don’t want to lose my other three children and hope someone can help us overcome this problem,” she added.
According to the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF), about one in 10 children under five in Iraq are underweight and one in five are short for their age. This means that some 4.5 million children in the country are under-nourished.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg, according to Claire Hajaj, Communication Officer at UNICEF Iraq Support Centre in Amman (ISCA).
Read the rest here.