Monday, March 12, 2007

Perspective: Iraqi elderly most vulnerable

BAGHDAD, 12 March 2007 (IRIN) - Elderly people in Iraq are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with daily life as the country’s security conditions worsen, say specialists.

Continuing violence and the consequent mass displacement has had a debilitating effect on the health and psychological conditions of the elderly, add the specialists.

There are no reliable statistics available for the number and conditions of elderly people in Iraq but aid agencies say that it is the elderly who find it most difficult to cope with displacement. As a result, they have developed illnesses which, with a lack of medical assistance, can lead to death.

“Elderly people are like children and need especial care. Without a proper diet, medical assistance, pension and welfare payments, aged people have been indirectly targeted by increasingly violence in Iraq,” Fatah Ahmed, a spokesman for Iraq Aid Association (IAA), said.

“With constant moving to flee sectarian violence, they have problems getting their pensions. And their monthly food rations are practically impossible to get as relatives are afraid to go to distribution centres and be targeted by insurgents or militants,” Ahmed added.

Those unable or unwilling to flee their homes become easy targets for fighters.

Read the rest at IRIN