Effects of Sanctions
"What we are doing is destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that." -- Denis Halliday (former UN coordinator of the Oil-for-Food Program and Nobel Peace Prize nominee)
The lack of clean water is the single biggest killer of children, the sick, and the elderly. The majority of patients in Iraq's hospitals are stricken with amoebic dysentery, gastroenteritis and other waterborne diseases. The effect of the 1990 Persian Gulf War was the destruction of much of the water delivery and sewage treatment infrastructure.
The U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after the Gulf War ended.
The sanctions repeatedly prevent the country from importing necessary spare parts and chemicals for the water treatment plants by declaring them 'dual usage'. The hospitals lack equipment and medicines to treat their patients according to their medical needs as we heard and saw first hand when we visited hospitals in Baghdad and Basrah.
Hundred thousands of Iraqi people died as a consequence of military attacks and sanctions against the country. And still they are dying every day because of simplest diseases. Mostly those who can least resist the combined pressures of malnutrition, infections and diseases -- the elderly and young children, women during pregnancy and childbirth. Perhaps the most tragic causes have been the unavailability of clean water and medicine.