Humanitarian Disaster In Fallujah: Unprecedented Numbers of Birth Defects, Miscarriages and Cancer Cases


Malak Hamdan

 BRussells Tribunal – 12 April 2010

Doctors in Fallujah are witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects, miscarriages and cancer cases. According to gynaecologists, paediatricians and neurologists in Fallujah the numbers of these cases have been increasing rapidly since 2005 – less than 1 year after the bombing campaign by the occupying forces in 2004.

The most common birth defects are defects that involve the heart and the nervous system other defects witnessed by doctors include babies with two heads, upper and lower limb defects and eye abnormalities.

What is more disturbing is that pregnant women are completely unaware that they are carrying an abnormal child until the day they give birth - Traumatizing the mother and the rest of the family.

Preliminary data based on cases documented in January of this year shows the rate of heart defects in Fallujah to be 13 times the rate found in Europe. And for birth defects involving the Nervous System based on data reported for February of this year the rate was calculated to be 33 times that found in Europe for the same number of births.

A significant number of babies die because doctors in Fallujah do not have the necessary training to carry out certain life saving operations. There are a number of babies that have TOF’s and other complex cardiac defects that cannot be operated on by Iraqi doctors and therefore the result is the needless death of the child. Babies who suffer from NTD’s are also in need of urgent assistance.

How Can You Help?

1.      We are asking for doctor(s) or a hospital from a foreign country to accept and operate on a child from Fallujah carrying the types of birth defects mentioned above. Due to the extent of the problem this program would be needed on regular bases if possible.

2.      To send doctors to Fallujah to train Iraqi doctors or/and to conduct operations in Fallujah itself, if possible. 

* Malak Hamdan is a member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee