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War in Iraq: Baghdad hospitals report rise in casualties.



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War in Iraq - Baghdad Hospitals report rise in casualties

DATE: 2003 Mar 26

RED CROSS Doctors report a rise in casualty numbers in Baghdad hospitals, particularly among women and children.

And the Irish Red Cross Chairman, David Andrews SC has again called on both sides to pay real attention to the Law of War as outlined in the Geneva Conventions.

"Women, children and other civilians are entitled to be protected from attack and warring parties must show that they are taking every conceivable precaution to ensure their safety," said the Red Cross Chairman

"What this means is that warring parties must be aware that attacks directed at civilians are prohibited, as are attacks that do not distinguish between military objectives and civilians/civilian objects. In the course of military operations, all parties are obliged to take every feasible precaution to avoid, and in any case to minimize, civilian casualties and damage to civilian property," David Andrews added, supporting the position of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) adopted at the outset of hostilities.

The right to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. Weapons having indiscriminate effects and/or causing superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering are forbidden by international humanitarian law, as are chemical and biological weapons. The ICRC also calls upon the warring parties not to use nuclear weapons.

Prior to reports of missile attacks in a market in Baghdad this morning, Red Cross doctors visiting the Al-Yarmouk general teaching hospital and Al-Kindi general hospital reported that 60 wounded people were injured during the past two nights.

Seven seriously injured children and eight deaths were reported in Baghdad up to this morning. The Red Cross also delivered 120 blankets to these hospitals. The Iraq Red Crescent is supporting the International Red Cross with 14 First Aid posts set-up around Baghdad.

Water remains a priority for Red Cross support to hospitals and the demand for water is likely to increase in line with any escalation in hostilities. 220 Cubic Metres of supplementary drinking water were delivered to 14 water distribution stations in poorly served districts of the northern Rusafa bank area and to five health centres used as emergency centres at Kharh.

5,000 one-litre bags of drinking water were delivered to a CARE-supported hospital, 2,400 bags were positioned and bladder tanks installed in eight primary health care centres, two autoclaves and water storage tanks were installed at Al-Karma hospital.