When military conflict occurs, just because the fighting ends does not mean the war is over for the people who live there as these two articles about Iraq so sadly illustrate:
Three decades of wars, massacres and sectarian killings have left Iraq with as many as a million widows, by Iraqi government count…
…In 2008 the government set up the Directorate of Social Care for Women that is now gradually taking over the payment of stipends from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which was widely accused of inefficiency and corruption.
However, Hameed, the directorate’s chief, complains that she lacks the funds to efficiently serve areas beyond the capital and lacks the authority to introduce reform and eradicate corruption in the ministry departments handling widows…
…poverty is driving some Iraqi women into prostitution, both in Iraq and in neighboring Jordan and Syria, home to the Arab world’s largest Iraqi refugee communities.
“Many of Iraq’s neighbors are exploiting Iraqi women,” said activist Suzan Kazim Kashkoul.
Also, she and other advocates say, the post-U.S. invasion violence has shrunk the pool of potential husbands for widows as well as single women over 30, and in the sectarian-charged postwar atmosphere, Sunni-Shiite marriages have become rare. The economy is in trouble yet the housing market is hot, making housing unaffordable for many.
And then there is this horrific study documenting what activists have feared in the aftermath of the use of toxic weaponry:
Results of a population-based epidemiological study organized by Malak Hamdan and Chris Busby are published tomorrow in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH) based in Basle, Switzerland. They show increases in cancer, leukemia and infant mortality and perturbations of the normal human population birth sex ratio significantly greater than those reported for the survivors of the A-Bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Results of a survey in Jan/Feb 2010 of 711 houses and more than 4000 individuals in Fallujah show that in the five years following the 2004 attacks by USA-led forces there has been a 4-fold increase in all cancer. Interestingly, the spectrum of cancer is similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionizing radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout. By comparing the sample population rates to the cancer rates in Egypt and Jordan, researchers found there has been a 38-fold increase in leukemia (20 cases) almost a 10-fold increase in female breast cancer (12 cases) and significant increases in lymphoma and brain tumours in adults.
Based on 16 cases in the 5-year period, the 12-fold increases in childhood cancer in those aged 0-14 were particularly marked. The cancer and leukemia increases were all in younger people than would normally be expected. Infant mortality was found to be 80 per 1000 births which compares with a value of 19 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan and 9.7 in Kuwait. An important result is that the sex-ratio, which in normal populations is always 1050 boys born per 1000 girls was seriously reduced in the group born immediately after 2005, one year after the conflict: in this group the sex ratio was 860.