Our team in Baghdad just called. It is difficult for us to convey the
obvious relief that we experienced upon hearing from them. The phone
disconnected three times giving us less than 10 minutes to communicate
with them. They told us U.S. soldiers and tanks are on streets and
street corners, they seem to be everywhere. Further, they expressed
with great emphasis that an excessive amount of bombs have rained down
on Baghdad for the last week.
Today as we watch on television the countless hours of reporting on
the tangible and symbolic destruction of a Saddam Hussein statue, the
number of injured civilians, families losing loved ones, lootings,
fires, and fighting increases. Meanwhile our team in Amman attended a
press briefing where they heard statements from United Nations
humanitarian coordinators. These statements have gone unmentioned in
the mainstream media.
Carel de Rooy director of UNICEF in Iraq stated, "Before this conflict
took place UNICEF had networks and systems in Iraq that helped achieve
our life-saving vaccination campaigns, nutrition campaigns, and work
in education. What is horribly worrying about the looting, chaos, and
break down of order, is that those systems we counted on may
completely collapse," he added that at the beginning of this week, the
UNICEF Iraq appeal has received just 1/5th of its funding. "This is
obviously and simply not enough. We have an emergency on our hands.
Our actions in the next few weeks will determine the physical and
mental well-being of a generation of Iraqi children."
A representative from the World Health Organization, speaking to the
increasing humanitarian crisis added, "Reports from Baghdad tell of
serious civilian casualties and growing pressure on hospitals and
health workers. Electricity supplies are erratic, the standby
generators are being overworked to the point of collapse; many
hospitals are running short of clean, safe water, staff are working
extremely long hours in unimaginable circumstances and some vital
surgical and medical supplies are running short...in a hospital with a
basic infrastructure not functioning, and where doctors and nurses
have to perform difficult emergency surgical operations and provide
intensive care without access to some of the most basic services and
Months prior to the "shock and awe" onslaught, UN officials, as well
as delegates with the Iraq Peace Team, had warned and protested
against the use of such violence due to the realities Iraqis are faced
with today, the realities as outlined in the statements above. Adding
greater concern to an already desperate situation, UNHCI commented on
the inability for UN agencies to enter Iraq at the current time,
because of the lack of safety on the roads and access to warehouses
As our team in Baghdad continues to bear witness, we ask all of you to
continue to do the work that has just begun. The urgency for water
and relief that is felt by many civilians throughout Iraq is one that
must be heard and echoed throughout the world until their needs are
met. In the most recent diary from our team in Iraq, Cynthia Banas
wrote, "Death, destruction, maiming, and lifetime trauma are the
consequences of war. We have witnessed children frightened beyond
their years, and have seen their mangled bodies in the hospital. War
for them will never end."
Thank you for your work. Thank you for caring.
Bitta Mostofi, for Voices in the Wilderness
NEWS AND VIEWS DISTRIBUTED HERE ARE THE AUTHOR'S RESPONSIBILITY
AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE OPINION OF WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
Yahoo ads are not under WVNS control.