Jul 30, 2007

Still Shocked, Still Awed

It would seem to appear that even (pdf) certain NGOs had their Deep Greens up and running by '03. -M1

The violence in Iraq is overshadowing a humanitarian crisis, with eight million Iraqis – nearly one in three - in need of emergency aid, says a report released today by international agency Oxfam and NCCI, a network of aid organizations working in Iraq.

The agencies' report "Rising to the Humanitarian Challenge in Iraq" (pdf) says although the appalling security situation is the biggest problem facing most ordinary Iraqis, the government of Iraq and other influential governments should do more to meet basic needs for water, sanitation, food and shelter.

According to the report:

* Four million Iraqis – 15% - regularly cannot buy enough to eat.
* 70% are without adequate water supplies, compared to 50% in 2003.
* 28% of children are malnourished, compared to 19% before the 2003 invasion.
* 92% of Iraqi children suffer learning problems, mostly due to the climate of fear.
* More than two million people – mostly women and children - have been displaced inside Iraq.
* A further two million Iraqis have become refugees, mainly in Syria and Jordan.

Jeremy Hobbs, director of Oxfam International, said:
"The terrible violence in Iraq has masked the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Malnutrition amongst children has dramatically increased and basic services, ruined by years of war and sanctions, cannot meet the needs of the Iraqi people. Millions of Iraqis have been forced to flee the violence, either to another part of Iraq or abroad. Many of those are living in dire poverty."

And now for a little coincidental history - a Voice of America interview with Paul Sherlock of Oxfam back in January... 2003. (archived courtesy of GlobalSecurity.com)

HOST: Since the beginning of the resumption of weapons inspections in Iraq late last year -- the United States has warned of military action if Baghdad fails to comply with U-N resolutions on disarmament. But the aid agency Oxfam fears a possible war against Iraq would be devastating for the country -- where it says the water and sanitation infrastructure is already on the verge of collapse after years of under-funding, and lack of repair and spare parts. Malnutrition is also widespread and life for people on a day-to-day basis is extremely tough.

Paul Sherlock is a water and sanitation expert with the aid agency Oxfam. He says Oxfam is working on the assumption that war is not necessarily inevitable. But he tells VOA News Now's Rebecca Ward that like any other responsible aid agency, Oxfam is looking into what it might do in case of military action in Iraq.

MR. SHERLOCK: We had a visit, both inside of Iraq and then a visit around the border countries of Iraq, with the exception of Turkey -- and I shall be in Turkey next week~-- to see what the U.N. agencies and what the government and what we might be doing.

Now, in two of these countries, in Iran and in Jordan, we have a little office already. So, we've been around to look at the plans and look at the preparation work of both the United Nations and work of the government, and also to see how we as Oxfam can fit into those plans. Because one of the things that worked that we've done over the years is that we've specialized in doing refugee water and sanitation. And in the last Gulf crisis we had a very high profile in providing water in Jordan and also supporting work inside of Iraq.

MS. WARD: Any figures, maybe based on the last Persian Gulf War, of how many refugees might be flooding into areas like Jordan and Syria?

MR. SHERLOCK: Well, it's all speculation of course, and it is difficult to get at, because clearly it is going to be very different from what happened in the Gulf War in 1991. Because this will be an attack on Iraq, and therefore people will possibly move out more than what they did before. Before, one of the largest bulk of refugees that came out were actually domestic workers who came out through Jordan. They were Egyptians and there were a whole range of Asians, and a certain number of refugees went into Iran and a certain number went into Turkey.

This time we think it is going to be very, very different. Because, one, there isn't those domestic workers in the same numbers there, and this time we feel that if pressure gets really put on Iraq, if there is a major attack, then obviously a lot of people, a lot of Iraqis themselves, will up and move. The speculation, I think the overall speculation, of the numbers of people that are coming out, I think the United Nations are using a figure of maybe 2 million people. But in fact that is a figure which they won't publish at the moment, because obviously the U.N. are being very careful.

So, in countries like Jordan there is a speculation that maybe between 20,000 and 50,000 people might come out.

MS. WARD: How draining would that be on resources already in Jordan?

MR. SHERLOCK: The biggest drain would be on the sorts of water resources in Jordan, because Jordan is a very dry country, like Syria. And if those people came into Jordan, then one of the major things you have to do for anybody to survive is obviously the provision of water. Sanitation is another issue, but that is about health. But in a country like Jordan, the provision of water, say, for 50,000 people is actually a lot of water. So, one of the major, major problems in Jordan will be the provision of water supply to any sort of camp, or in fact for any sort of number that comes in.

MS. WARD: Did you have a chance to talk with any Iraqis about how they feel about the possibility of war?

MR. SHERLOCK: Well, yes, in the context that I was in on a visit where the security is fairly tight and all the rest of it. Therefore, you can only openly talk with people who you know reasonably well. Because otherwise people are reluctant to say too much.

My feeling when I came out was that all the people that I spoke to were very, very worried. They were very, very worried and they were very concerned about what might happen. And even though they had lived through a crisis over the last 12 years -- and of course they lived through the first of the Gulf Wars, or what we call the main Gulf War, of 12 years ago -- most people felt that this was going to be a much more severe crisis and, therefore, in themselves, were very frightened about it.
The relevant intel on Iraq was excellent back in the day. Even corduroyed Oxfam had a pretty good idea of what might shake out in the sandbox should circumstance go kinetic. (Their only miscalculation was believing the war was still only a possible.)

Perhaps a couple of new courses can be added to standard fare intelligence studies programs: Moving your most excellent product during a period of global climate change (2nd year) and Coercive cognitive intubation and other force-feeding strategies for the enlightenment of fundamentalist nut-cases and dissonant moles of pivotal influence (Advanced Studies, of course).


steve said...

So, an obvious solution, right in line with the administration's compaign to outsource government jobs to the private sector, would be to "phaase out" the CIA and replace them with Oxfam.

Maybe the CIZ can get jobs with Murdoch's Wall Street Journal. Or maybe they already have...

steve said...

ok, that's what I get for posting without previewing...

But now we have a new intel group to kick around, the CIZ.

Wonder what the AI bots will think of that?

Meatball One said...


We will alway love you - and unconditionally at that, Napa bastard.

Even if you end up doing drugs. (Hard drugs excluded - even a mother draws a line)


steve said...

by the way, at this moment, bonnie falkner of guns and butter is having a pledge drive on kpfa.org.

maybe you're checking it out...

it's webster tarpley telling about what happened in various places on 9/11/01.

these are dangerous drugs, indeed

Meatball One said...

OK, will check it out. Thanks.

BTW, I was sifting thru the past weeks' online news from Scandinavia and found that
Chalmers Johnson went mainstream in Sweden, landing an above the fold spot in the country's largest conservative daily. As Effwit said, it must've been the work of a summer temp - or so the paper will say when they get a call from the U.S. embassy's resident media-mapper.

Also noted that all the Danish troops have now pulled out of Iraq.

Chalmers in Sweden link