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Abdul-Aziz Altaie

Iraqi women 'commit suicide' after children die of starvation

Hunger and deprivation are now widespread in Anbar [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 April, 2015

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Feature: Blockades imposed on Anbar province have caused considerable suffering among the civilian population and resulted in the deaths of children from starvation or lack of medicine.

Several women in Iraq's Anbar province women have reportedly committed suicide because their children died of starvation or from a lack of medicine. These shortages of food and medicine are the result of rival blockades imposed by the Islamic State group (IS), and Iraqi security forces and the Popular Mobilization militias.

Liqaa Wardi, the member of the Committee for the Displaced in the Iraqi parliament, said a number of suicides involving women in the province have been recorded, some of whom took their lives after their children died due to shortages of food and medicine. Wardi called on the authorities to send urgent food aid to the province.

Liqaa said the number of deaths among refugee children has so far been in the vicinity of 48.

At a press conference, Wardi said families in Anbar were starving, and hundreds of children and their mothers were trapped in various parts of the province, awaiting food and medical aid.

"Our contacts with citizens and human rights activists revealed a number of children had died because of hunger and disease, and mothers who committed suicide after being unable to provide their children with food."

She said the number of deaths among refugee children has so far been in the vicinity of 48.

The Iraqi MP criticized what she called the government's deliberate neglect of those areas, which she said was due to the government's accusation that locals collaborated with the IS group. Wardi cited an incident in which the Ministry of Interior prevented the entry of convoys carrying food aid to the province, and appealed to international organizations to rush to provide assistance to children in Anbar.

Iraqi Vice President Osama al-Nujaifi vowed that the coming phase would see the liberation of Anbar from the IS in coordination with the security leaders. At a meeting with delegates from Anbar Tribal Council, he called for support for the security forces to retake ground.

In a statement, the head of the Anbar Tribal Council Naim al-Kuoud said the delegation stressed the tribes needed weapons to liberate the province from terrorists, as well as discussing the humanitarian situation in al-Baghdadi and Haditha. Kuoud explained that the tribal leaders asked for food and medical aid, and for the injured and sick to be transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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