Link to BBC Homepage

Front Page

UK

World

Business

Sci/Tech

Sport

Despatches

World News in Audio


On Air

Cantonese

Talking Point

Feedback

Low Graphics

Help

Site Map

Thursday, March 26, 1998 Published at 10:22 GMT



World: Middle East

Gulf War shells 'could be causing children's cancers'
image: [ Abnormalities, as well as cancers and mutations, have increased dramatically ]
Abnormalities, as well as cancers and mutations, have increased dramatically

High numbers of children born with cancer in the areas of Iraq where the Gulf War was fought have increased fears that the weapons used by the Allies may be responsible.

There are reports of children developing cancers at rates that doctors in the area have never seen before, with Basra Children's Hospital experiencing a death rate for children with leukaemia 10 times higher than normal.


[ image: This 16-day old child, born without eyes or limbs. Her parents left her in the hospital, hoping she would die.]
This 16-day old child, born without eyes or limbs. Her parents left her in the hospital, hoping she would die.
The situation has led to one British Labour MP to call for sanctions on Iraq to be lifted to enable it to help the children properly.

The increase in cancers, along with mutations and abnormalities, has been seen particularly in the areas which were desert battlefield - the border towns between Iraq and Kuwait, which saw some of the heaviest fighting at the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

One theory, which has yet to be tested scientifically, is that depleted uranium, used to tip shells but not in itself thought to be dangerously radioactive, has found its way into the water supply.


[ image: MP George Galloway]
MP George Galloway
George Galloway MP, who visited the Baghdad hospital where the most severe cases have been referred, said: "We always say we have got no quarrel with the Iraqi people.

"Why not send a message to Iraqi children by sending an army of cancer experts laden with suitcases of cancer drugs to come and help the Iraqi health service - these heroes who are working in these conditions?

"Why not try to help them diagnose the scale of this problem, try to identify the source of this problem and provide the drugs to treat them?"
 





Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage

©

Link to BBC Homepage

[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  Relevant Stories

26 Mar 98 | World
UN inspectors search presidential sites

02 Mar 98 | Events
Iraq tests limits of weapons inspections deal

12 Nov 97 | Events
Iraq - a history of conflict

03 Feb 98 | Events
A people suffering under sanctions