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War-wounded civilians are the focus of this article. Iraq's health care system, already weakened before the devastating 2003 invasion, now has to cope with a relentless stream of daily bomb blasts and shootings.

Official indifference (by the nations which invaded Iraq) to the welfare of living victims persists.

2. Data are derived from over 300 press reports

IBC archivist Kay Williams has undertaken a content-analysis of over 300 published reports used to establish the 150 entries in the IBC data-base of civilian deaths to July 6 2003. Every mention of injuries in these reports has been extracted and tabulated. In IBC terminology, each line in the on-line data-base is referred to as an incident, even though some entries cover multiple incidents within a locality.

There is evidence that the “precision” or highly-targeted bombing of Baghdad in the early days of the conflict may have injured far more people than were killed. Conversely, deaths in the ground war, particularly when civilian cars were fired on by heavy machine guns or tanks, may have seen the ratios reversed, with few escaping alive from the blazing wrecks. However, taken across all phases and arenas of the war, injuries were probably about 3 times more numerous than deaths.

Note: Figures as at July 7th 2003. The Minimum total count of injuries in the IBC database is 16,439. However, given the more limited reporting of injuries by the media and IBC�s data-gathering methodology which focuses on reports of deaths, we feel that in this instance the Maximum count (of 19,733) is likely to be a closer approximation to the true number of wounded � and as discussed in the body of this report, may itself be an under-estimate.

Press and media reports for 43 IBC incidents do not mention any injuries. It cannot be inferred from this that no injuries occurred, simply that the journalists or reporters concerned either had no access to information about injuries, or were concentrating simply on deaths. Civilian injuries were mentioned in the press and media reports for 107 incidents. The total maximum reported injuries across all 107 incidents is 19,733. (See Note.) This takes account of known double counting across different incidents using much the same methodology as has been applied to reports of deaths in the IBC database. This total should not however be considered comprehensive, and is most likely an under-estimate because:

UNICEF reported more than 1,000 children injured by unexploded ordnance between the end of invasion phase of the war and mid-July, 2003. This figure is not factored into the present analysis.

  • Our data-base includes only stories which include reports of civilian deaths. Stories reporting injuries but no deaths are not included in our data-base.
  • The present calculations include only media and NGO reports published up to July 6, and in particular do not include UNICEF’s July 17 report of more than 1,000 children injured since the end of the war by unexploded ordnance;
  • The injured may, and likely will, have been under-reported during the war, for reasons including their more rapid removal (for treatment) from the scene of incidents.

These limitations should be borne in mind and the present study considered a “first count,” not a final or complete accounting, of the war’s civilian wounded.