BAGHDAD - The number of leukemia patients has surged in Iraq in recent
years, reaching a rate as high as one in 10 in some southern provinces,
the Iraqi health ministry says.
Between 1989 and 1995 the greatest rise in leukemia cases was in Muthanna
province bordering Kuwait and Saudia Arabia, where the rate rose from 3.8
percent to 10.6 percent, weekly newspaper Alif Ba reported.
Abbas Fadhel, director of the Radiology and Nuclear Medicine hospital,
told Alif Ba the increase may have resulted from "atmospheric pollution
by radioactive substances released during the aggression against Iraq."
(From U.S. depleted uranium shells and bombs? -ed.)
An international coalition drove Iraq out of Kuwait in early 1991 following
its invasion in August 1990.
"Iraq has not received medicine for treating leukemia" under
the UN oil-for-food accord, a ministry official was quoted as saying, referring
to the deal that allows Iraq to sell $2 billion in crude oil every six
months with which to buy food and medicine.
Iraqi Health Minister Umid Medhat Mubarak recently said that 1.5 million
Iraqis died during the embargo imposed after the Kuwait invasion because
of "U.S. obstinacy."
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