As a result, Iraq started suffering from diseases and health hazards of the past. Such diseases as measles, polio, cholera, typhoid, marasmus and kwashiorkor reappeared in Iraq on epidemic scales, Pravda.Ru says. More than 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died due to the shortage of medicines, food and drinking water. Iraq has been living under toughest economic sanctions, mainly enforced by the USA and the UK, for years already. The US-led coalition kicked Iraq out of Kuwait in 1991, Pravda.Ru reports. As a result of US-led air raids, Iraq was left without everything vital to human life - electricity, water, sewage systems, agriculture, industry and healthcare, John Hoskins, a Canadian doctor leading a Harvard study team, said. Afterwards, the UN imposed economic sanctions on Iraq, which lasted until the 2003 invasion. The sanctions regime was enforced by the US and Britain which took the toughest line on compliance.
In 1996, the UN launched the Oil-For-Food Programme, and Iraq started selling oil for food, medicines and other essential goods.
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In 1998/99, each Iraqi received a food allocation of $49 (£32) - 27 (19p) cents a day - for a six month period. In contrast, the dogs the UN used to help de-mine Iraq each received a food allocation of $160.
Interestingly, Denis Halliday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq who ran the sanctions regime, resigned in 1998. "We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral," he said noting that up to 5,000 children were dying in Iraq because of the sanctions regime.
Halliday later explained: "I was instructed to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide - a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults."
Moreover, Halliday's successor, Von Sponeck, resigned in protest two years later. "How long should the civilian population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done?" he wrote in his resignation letter.
Jutta Burghardt, head of the UN World Food Programme in Iraq, resigned two days after Von Sponeck, describing the sanctions regime as "a true humanitarian tragedy."
In response, US and British governments and media outlets either ignored or dismissed the fact that their sanctions were exterminating the people of Iraq.