Thursday, October 12, 2006

Latest Lancet Study: Iraq death toll over 650,000

Front Page News that doesn't make the top 5 in the so-called "mainstream" media of North America, including CNN, Fox News, CBC News, CTV, Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star.


BAGHDAD, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- More than 650,000 Iraqis have died as a consequence of hostilities in Iraq as of July 2006, according to a new study by a respected British medical journal.

The Lancet estimates that 654,965 excess Iraqi deaths have occurred since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country. Of this total, just over 600,000 were due to violence, the most common cause being gunfire.

The death toll amounts to 2.5 percent of the population in study areas surveyed, according the journal. Between May and July 2006 some 50 clusters were randomly selected from 16 Iraqi Governorates, with each cluster consisting of 40 households where information was gathered.

The proportion of Iraqi deaths attributable to coalition forces has diminished but actual numbers of persons killed have increased every year, according to the study. Gunfire remains the most common cause of death though a surge in car bombings has been documented.

Iraqi Body Count, the best known tracker of Iraq casualties, estimates that up to Sept. 26, 2006, between 43,491 and 48,283 Iraqis have been killed since the invasion. Figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Interior were 75 percent higher from the same period, while an Iraqi non-governmental organization, Iraqiyun, places the number at about 128,000.

Violent death totals have typically relied on hospital data from the Ministry of Health, mortuary tallies and media reports.

The Lancet says it relied on household interviews to gather more in-depth feedback, taking into account indirect causes, such as displacement and deteriorating health services. Period mortality rates were then calculated by regression models."

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