Facts and Shivers

Water.Before the 1991 war, most of Iraq's urban pumping stations were putting out drinkable water. After that war, the system crashed. Much of the pumping equipment was stolen. But again after Oil for Food, the water system improved with new equipment and pipes laid in Baghdad.

Food and Nutrition. Relative affluence allowed many Iraqis to eat well from the 1960s through the 1980s. In 1991, war led to an immediate drop in food supplies. About one-third of the country's children under the age of five were malnourished by the mid-1990s. However, food production soon increased, leading to a surplus that lowered prices by as much as 40 percent. Chicken had come to provide a key source of protein; chicken production began to rise, leading to a decline in prices.

Public Health. The 1991 war cut in half the activities of the public-health system—such as prescriptions, surgeries, lab tests and hospital visits.

Before the war, there were 148 ambulances in the country. In 1996, there were just four in Baghdad. The number of diarrhea episodes in children under five quadrupled from 1991 to 1996. "Informal estimates suggest that 70 percent of child deaths in the mid-1990s were due to preventable diarrheal or respiratory diseases," Garfield said.

Education. Before the first Gulf War, virtually all children went to grammar school. But after the war, attendance fell, teaching quality declined and the number of pupils graduating from grammar school dropped. As a consequence, the literacy rate declined.

"It's going to a tough couple of years," said Rowat. "I don't think there's going to be a real Marshall Plan because Iraq is seen as a rich country, relative to countries in Africa."

With their weak economies, neither the U.S. nor Britain will be inclined to do much. In the U.S., emphasis is expected to shift from Iraq to the domestic economy and the 2004 presidential election.

Additional reporting by Phoebe St. John and Joanna Khenkine.

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