Friday, November 03, 2006

John Howard dismisses Lancet report of 655,000 Iraqi war deaths

by Elliot K - Perth Indy 2006-10-12 11:17 PM +0800

October 12, 2006 - PM refuses to believe Iraq deaths figure

US researchers have found that around one in 40 Iraqi population, have died as a result of the 2003 invasion of their country - according to a study by the British journal The Lancet. The study says: "Our estimate of the post-invasion crude mortality rate represents a doubling of the baseline mortality rate," which they say "constitutes a humanitarian emergency..."

The Prime Minister dismissed as "implausible", the university research which suggests more than 650,000 Iraqis have died since Australia and the US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003...
The British medical journal Lancet has published an article by researchers at American university John Hopkins which found there had been 655,000 Iraqi deaths since coalition troops invaded the country in March 2003.

Mr Howard said he did not believe the figures. "It's not plausible," he said. "I think that is absolutely precarious, it is an unbelievably large number and it is out of whack..."

The ABC reports that "so many are killed in Iraq each day that even big bombings often go little reported in the daily media. And so dangerous is the situation that it's hard for journalists and other independent observers to make their own counts."

The 650,000 figure comes from a report by America's Johns Hopkins University. But other groups which also track the Iraq death toll, put the number at around 50,000.

The report suggests some 655,000 civilians may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003. That estimate comes from a nationwide survey of 1,800 households throughout Iraq.

In October 2004, a paper also published in The Lancet calculated around 100,000 deaths had occurred in Iraq between March 2003 and September 2004 as a result of violence and heart attack and aggravated health problems.

Gilbert Burnham and a team of researchers, sought to make an renewed estimate of deaths from March 2003 to June 2006, and compared the mortality before the invasion.

Between May and July, 2006, the group did a national cross-sectional cluster sample survey of mortality in Iraq. 50 clusters were randomly selected from 16 Governorates, with every cluster consisting of 40 households. Information on deaths from these households was gathered.

They randomly selected 47 sites across Iraq, comprising 1,849 households and 12,801 people. Interviewers asked householders about births, deaths and migration and if there had been a death since January 2002 and, if so, asked to see a death certificate to note the cause.

Its a different story at the Iraq Body Count website. Based on 38 media sources, the site records civilian deaths caused by military action, insurgent and terrorist attacks and criminal activities since the war began in 2003.

As of the 9th of October, the site reports the number of civilian deaths is between 43850 and 48693. See:

Add to that list an estimated 5,500 Iraqi military and police deaths. Then there's the casualties from the Coalition forces, including 2,749 US deaths, 119 UK deaths and 118 from the other countries, including two from Australia...

"The number of people dying in Iraq has continued to escalate. The proportion of deaths ascribed to coalition forces has diminished in 2006, although the actual numbers have increased every year," the study says. "Gunfire remains the most common cause of death, although deaths from car bombing have increased."

"Aside from violence, insufficient water supplies, non-functional sewerage, and restricted electricity supply also create health hazards. A deteriorating health service with insecure access, and the flight of health professionals adds further risks. People displaced by the on-going sectarian violence add to the number of vulnerable individuals. In many conflicts, these indirect causes have accounted for most civilian deaths," says the report.

"We continue to believe that an independent international body to monitor compliance with the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian standards in conflict is urgently needed. With reliable data, those voices that speak out for civilians trapped in conflict might be able to lessen the tragic human cost of future wars."

PM doesn't believe - The Australian

The Lancet - Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey

Iraq death toll disputed - ABC

655,000 Iraqis died due to invasion: study

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