“Almost a month after the outbreak of armed clashes pitting Coalition and Iraqi forces against the Mehdi Army, the situation in Sadr City, in eastern Baghdad, is putting further strain on the civilian population,” says Patrick Youssef, head of the sub-delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Baghdad. “The clashes that began on 25 March did not let up until they eased briefly on 12 April. However, the lull in the fighting did not give the population enough time to stock up on food and water or to seek appropriate medical care.”
Al Jamila market, one of the largest in Sadr City, was entirely destroyed by the fighting. The market used to provide enough supplies to cover everyday needs in Sadr City. People are now short of food, especially as prices of fresh vegetables have increased considerably.
According to ICRC staff in Baghdad, who are in permanent contact with hospitals and health officials, several hospitals have exhausted their stocks of medical supplies as a result of the ongoing fighting.
The ICRC has had difficulty transporting food and medicines where they are needed because of the ongoing fighting.