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UN Says One In Four Iraqis Still Depend On Rations

29 September 2004 -- The UN food agency says one in four Iraqis is still highly dependent on food rations, and that 2.6 million people are so poor that they have to sell part of their rations to buy basic necessities.

The World Food Program said the results of a survey conducted in the second half of 2003 also showed that almost one-third of Iraqi children under the age of five are "chronically malnourished."

Prior to the March 2003 U.S.-led war on Iraq, around 60 percent of Iraq's population of an estimated 26 million people were entirely dependent on rations that have been distributed since 1996.

Iraq was placed under UN sanctions after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The WFP said that since completing the survey, it had launched a one-year $60 million emergency operation targeting the most vulnerable groups.