One third of Iraqis live on $70/week or less
- One third of Iraqis live in poverty UN report
AJP and agencies
One-third of Iraqis are now living in poverty, according to the
findings of dire UN study for a nation that enjoyed prosperity less
than three decades ago.
The study, carried out by the United Nations Development Program and
a division of the Iraqi government, is the first major survey of
living conditions for poverty-stricken Iraqis since the 2003 U.S.-
Based on data from 2004, the study found that Iraqi living standards
had deteriorated considerably compared with the 1970s and 1980s,
particularly in the area of access to, and quality of, water,
electricity, sanitation, health care, employment, income and asset
Damaged or housing conditions and educational access and quality
were also found to be significant areas of deprivation.
The report also states that oil riches are not benefiting the
Iraqis, and that a third of the population is suffering from
poverty, with 5% living in extreme poverty.
From a thriving middle-income economy in the 1970s and 1980s, Iraq
has been reduced to a state where one-third of households live on
the equivalent of less than $70 a week, it says.
"A country like Iraq which is blessed ... with the largest potential
of natural resources [and] the highest quality of human resources,
has been brought to its knees by human hands," said Paolo Lembo, the
director of the U.N. Development Program in Iraq.
Poor living conditions
The study showed that Iraq's damaged infrastructure is the single-
largest factor in creating poor living conditions. It found that 85
percent of households lacked a stable source of electricity, with
weekly and even daily outages, cutting into other basic needs.
It also found that half of the Iraqi population has unsatisfactory
About 70 percent of households also struggle with garbage disposal,
and more than 40 percent are deprived of healthy sanitation
facilities. This contributes to Iraq's health problems, including
malnourishment, the report warns.
The authors of the report also singled out education, saying things
have not improved since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The worst conditions are reported in the mostly Shia south, the area
controlled by UK forces, while Baghdad and northern Iraq have the
highest level of living standards, the study said.
Deprivation levels were three times higher in rural areas than urban
U.S. failed policies
Although living standards began to decline under Saddam, through two
wars and crippling economic sanctions that followed, the report
criticized the U.S. for its attempts to introduce a market economy
The U.S.'s post-war policies, described by the report as naive and
immature, dismantled state-run enterprises that employed hundreds of
thousands of Iraqis, and ended subsidies once received by
individuals and families.
These failed policies led to high unemployment and frustration, the
The report's authors also warned that the deteriorating living
conditions in Iraq could lead to a civil war.
Paolo Lembo also said that poverty and deprivation offer "a very
fertile ground to recruitment" for terror groups.
"When you are jobless, when you don't have electricity and water,
you become more vulnerable to being recruited by extremist groups,"
Lembo also demanded officials in charge of Iraq's reconstruction to
slow efforts to privatize the economy and better help residents cope
with the change.
"It's not a criticism to anyone. It's a reality we must address," he
Up to 30 killed in Iraq attacks
In Iraq, more than 30 people died in a series of bombings and mortar
attacks on Monday, despite a major security operation in the war-
At least 11 people, including five Iraqi policemen, were killed in a
car bomb blast near Ramadi in the western Anbar province.
About 20 people were also killed in several attacks in Baghdad,
including 11 in a mortar attack on a Shia neighborhood in the south.
Meanwhile, two American troops were killed and 17 others injured in
a bomb attack at a "combat outpost" north of Baghdad, the U.S. army
The military has set up these so-called combat outposts in several
districts in Baghdad as part of the new security plan there.
Monday's attacks came a day after two car bomb explosions hit a
crowded Baghdad market leaving more than 60 people dead.
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