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Iraq: Emergency assistance for victims of Baghdad stampede

01-09-2005 News Release 05/68

More than 800 people were reportedly crushed to death or drowned in the Tigris river on 31 August when panic spread through the thousands of pilgrims who were marching towards the Kadhimiya mosque in northern Baghdad to honour the shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim.

 

Photo Reuters/Kareem Raheem-courtesy www.alertnet.org) 
 
Iraqi men pray near coffins during the Friday prayers in Baghdad's Sadr city September 2, 2005. More than 800 persons were killed in a stampede on Wednesday, 31 August. 
     
A rumour of the presence of a suicide bomber is said to have sparked the panic. When people tried to flee, they broke through the railings of the A'imma bridge and hundreds fell 30 metres down into the river. Others were trampled or suffocated to death. Most of the victims were women and children.

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) immediately sent 50 volunteers to the scene of the disaster, where it set up a first-aid post. It brought in ambulances, four-wheel drives and a minibus to evacuate the dead and the injured, and sent trucks to deliver first-aid kits and blankets to three hospitals in the area (Kadhimiya, Naimiya and Medical City). The IRCS also delivered body bags, stretchers, bed sheets and further medical supplies (bandag es, plasters, cotton) to the hospitals.

In cooperation with the IRCS and the Directorate of Health, the ICRC delivered 10,000 litres of drinking water to the Imam Ali Hospital (capacity 230 beds) in Sadr City yesterday and is delivering another 70,000 litres to the same hospital today. The ICRC has already provided the IRCS and the Directorate of Health with 5,000 bed sheets, 500 stretchers, 458 body bags and drugs for 200 patients, and is currently delivering further supplies, including enough intravenous fluids, suture material and dressings to treat 100 people.

The ICRC extends its sympathy to the families and friends of those who died and were injured in this tragic event.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Rana Sidani, ICRC Amman, mobile: (++962) 777 399 614  

 Fardous Abadi, Iraqi Red Crescent Society, mobile: (++964) 790 176 9724