Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, March 07, 2008

High rates of trauma and sickness exist among Iraqi refugees in Egypt

A troubling number of the estimated 70,000-150,000 Iraqi refugees in Egypt have developed serious psychological and stress-related illnesses, the United Nations IRIN news agency reported on February 27.

Chronic diseases like heart ailments and diabetes, as well as more unusual ailments such as loss of speech, sight, and stunted growth are afflicting a growing number of Iraqis in the refugee camps. Ahlam Tobia, a medical doctor who works with refugees in Cairo says that Iraqi refugees have a high rate of medical problems when compared to other refugee populations, such as the Sudanese and Somalis. Severe poverty among the Iraqi refugees exacerbates their health problems further.

Dr. Tobia believes that Iraqi children are displaying health problems unique to their population, possibly attributable to the radioactive waste, and assorted chemicals left from Iraq’s war with Iran. “In other communities congenital diseases are very rare – maybe we find an abnormality of one in 100,” she said. “Among the Iraqis, I see them in the tens.”

For the full article, click here.


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