Iraqi Relief Efforts

The International Red Cross is temporarily suspending its relief efforts in Baghdad because the city has become "Chaotic and Unpredictable." While the World Health Organization says that hospitals in the capital are running out of supplies.

Baghdad hospitals have reached their limit and are running out of supplies to treat war casualties, this in a system whose capabilities were already strained to the limit before the war.

The disruption of basic services in urban Baghdad may lead to a variety of short-term health problems. Worse yet is the lack of security for health and municipal workers, for both Iraqi and international workers.

The most important first steps to insure public health include restoring electricity to hospitals and the restoration of water and sanitation facilities.

Avoiding a large-scale health crisis will depend on how quickly order can be restored so that disruption s to the infrastructure can be remedied. It is important to return responsibility for health care to the Iraqis, who are trained and capable.