4 million Iraqis struggling for food – UN

The Irish Times

Four million Iraqis are struggling to feed themselves, and 40 per cent of the country’s 27 million people have no safe water, the UN said today.

Iraq has annual economic growth of around 7 per cent, according to UN estimates, and a national budget of €33 billion, buoyed by oil exports of 1.6 million barrels per day.

But insurgency and sectarian attacks have displaced more than two million people and left nearly twice as many hungry.

“Four million Iraqis cannot guarantee they’re going to have food on their table tomorrow,” the United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq, David Shearer, said as he unveiled a €182 million appeal to donor governments for 2008.

The United Nations says the number of displaced people has roughly doubled since 2006 to nearly 2.5 million. High unemployment has left many others unable to feed themselves.

The Iraqi government said it would for the first time give €27.5 million from its own coffers to the aid appeal.