Charity calls for weapons clean up in Iraq
A leading christian-based charity has called for the clean-up of abandoned weapons in Iraq after its relief workers inside the country found several children wounded by discarded ammunition.
World Vision said it had treated at least 12 children for wounds caused by abandoned weapons and that the major concern was now for the children living and playing in a former war zone.
World Vision delivered £6,901 worth of medical supplies, blankets, plastic sheeting, and jerry cans
to Al Rutba, 130km inside western Iraq, yesterday.
The charity said the town, of some 25,000, was bombed during the war leaving it largely without power, water and communications, 12 schools closed.
The townís main 50-bed hospital was also destroyed by a US strike in the first few days of the war and doctors are now operating in a temporary hospital with just six beds, low medicine supplies and no pain killers.
James East, who accompanied two other World Vision relief staff to the town, said: ìWhen the Iraqi army disintegrated it abandoned the arms dumps, police stations and barracks and there are now thousands of shells up for grabs."
ìThe empty buildings are being looted, especially by children.î
He continued: ìThe situation is made even worse because none of the schools are operating and children have nothing to do to keep them occupied. Scavenging among the barracks and army posts that belonged to the once feared Iraqi police and military is one huge adventure.î
World Vision highlighted the case of Ahmed Aysh, seven, who was rushed to hospital after he had his fingers blown off by ammunition he had found. He is expected to have his hand amputated.
Doctors are now reported to be looking at converting the townís former Baath party headquarters into a temporary facility to create a unit with 20-beds