Saturday, December 22, 2007

Top 10 Reasons Not to Grow up in Iraq as a Child

Imagine growing up in Iraq which has been dubbed the world’s best-known conflict and its least well-known humanitarian crisis.

  1. The continuing violence in Iraq displaces 25,000 children every month as their families are forced to seek shelter in other parts of Iraq or outside its borders.
  1. Approximately 75,000 children were living in camps or temporary shelters by the end of this year.
  1. This year alone, 1350 children were detained by military and police authorities for alleged security violations.
  1. Iraq has anywhere from 3 to 4 million orphans, according to its Ministry for Planning and Development Corporation.

Since about 90% of those who die violent deaths are men, the number of unsupported widows and orphans in the country keeps rising. Out of the millions of orphans in Iraq, only 470 are supported by the government according to Nadira Habib, a member of the Committee on Family and Childhood Affairs in the Iraqi parliament.

  1. It is estimated that 122,000 Iraqi children died in 2005 before reaching their 5th birthday.

The under-five mortality rate (U5MR) is considered a critical indicator of the well-being of children. Expressed as a rate per 1000 live births, it is the probability of dying between birth and exactly five years of age. Iraq’s under-five mortality rate in 2005 was 125 compared to the United States’ U5MR of 7.

  1. One out of three children in Iraq is malnourished and underweight.

Acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 years of age had been steadily declining for two years until the U.S. decided to invade Iraq. Twenty months after the invasion, the rate of acute malnutrition had almost doubled as it shot back up from 4% to 7.7% in late 2004.

  1. In May 2007, UNICEF reported that 25 percent of Iraqi children between the ages of six months and five years suffer from acute or chronic malnutrition.

Did you know that the nutrition issue facing Iraqi children a generation ago was obesity? Malnutrition only appeared as a problem in the 1990s with U.S.-championed U.N. trade sanctions against Iraq.

  1. An estimated 760,000 Iraqi children were out of primary school in 2006.

UNICEF reports say an additional 220,000 children of primary-school age may have had their education disrupted in the year 2007 alone.

  1. Only 28 percent of Iraq’s 17-year olds sat their final exams this past summer.

Furthermore, only 40 percent of those that did sit their final exams in South and Central Iraq achieved a passing grade.

  1. The figures quoted above can only attempt to capture the slightest part of the ordeal that Iraqi children face every day.

Any amount of words or numbers will fail to do justice to their suffering…to the parents, relatives, shelter, health, laughter, and peace that Iraqi children have lost as a result of this war.


Anonymous said...

Countries with low median age and low literacy remain the principal source of terrorists.

We're creating a huge supply for many years to come, whenever schooling is disrupted or destroyed.

Not to mention the moral dimensions of the rest of that ugly result of our foreign policy.

Out of curiousity, where did all your numbers come from?

JAGS said...

The bulk of the statistics are drawn from the UNICEF website (a press release called 'Little respite for Iraq's children in 2007' and other publications). A few are from news articles quoting UNICEF and Iraqi officials.

I follow the theoretical argument for the claim you make about countries with low median age and literacy fueling more terrorists. Can you point out any studies that find this empirically?

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