Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

July 2007
The Human Toll

"No one is acknowledging how big the humanitarian catastrophe is."

Iraqi Humanitarian activist Basma al-Khateeb on the growing crisis of hunger and disease among civilians

On July 28th, a coalition of Iraqi non-profit groups, including Oxfam, report that roughly 8 million Iraqis are in need of emergency aid. The report also found that 1 in 4 Iraqi children is malnourished and that 70 percent of the country's population lacks clean drinking water. Another study by Iraq's Special Inspector General shows that only 435 of 2,797 finished reconstruction projects have been handed over to Iraqi officials to date. Earlier in the month Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, meets his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad to discuss Iran's alleged support of Shi'ite militia in Iraq. Though the meeting is historic — it is only the 2nd meeting between the country's two ambassadors in 30 years — Crocker is not optimistic about its practical outcome, telling reporters: "Thus far, the results on the ground are not encouraging." The next day, Iraqis enjoy a much-needed moment of triumph after the country's soccer team defeats Saudi Arabia in the Asia Cup championship.