Iraq War

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  Survey Makes New Estimate Of Iraqi Deaths Since 2003January 09, 2008 17:33 A new survey estimates that 151,000 Iraqis died of violence in the three years following the U.S.-led invasion of the country. Roughly nine of 10 of those deaths were a consequence of U.S. military operations, insurgent attacks and sectarian warfare.

The survey, conducted by the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization, also found a 60 percent increase in nonviolent deaths -- everything from childhood infections to kidney failure -- during the period. The results, which will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine at the end of the month, are the latest of several widely divergent and controversial estimates of mortality attributed to the Iraq war.

The three-year death toll calculated in the new survey is one-quarter the size of the one found in a smaller survey by Iraqi and Johns Hopkins researchers that was published in the journal Lancet in 2006.

Both teams used the same method -- a random sample of houses throughout the country. For the new study, however, researchers visited 23 times as many places and interviewed five times as many households. The project also involved greater supervision of the survey teams, which wasn't possible when the Johns Hopkins study was conducted in the spring of 2006 because of safety concerns.

Despite reaching a lower estimate of total deaths, this study's epidemiologists termed the result "a massive death toll in the wake of the 2003 invasion."

Iraq's population-wide mortality rate nearly doubled, and the death rate from violence increased tenfold after the coalition attack. Men between 15 and 60 years old were at the greatest risk. Their death rate from all causes tripled, and the risk of dying a violent death went up 11-fold.