In the week in which General Patraeus reports back to US Congress on the impact the recent ‘surge’ is having in Iraq, a new poll reveals that more than 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have been murdered since the invasion took place in 2003.
Previous estimates, most noticeably the one published in the Lancet in October 2006, suggested almost half this number (654,965 deaths).
These findings come from a poll released today by O.R.B., the British polling agency that have been tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005. In conjunction with their Iraqi fieldwork agency a representative sample of 1,461 adults aged 18+ answered the following question:-
How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (ie as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)? Please note that I mean those who were actually living under your roof.
Four or more 0.002%
Given that from the 2005 census there are a total of 4,050,597 households this data suggests a total of 1,220,580 deaths since the invasion in 2003.
Detailed analysis (which is available on our website) indicates that almost one in two households in Baghdad have lost a family member, significantly higher than in any other area of the country. The governorates of Diyala (42%) and Ninewa (35%) were next.
The poll also questioned the surviving relatives on the method in which their loved ones were killed. It reveals that 48% died from a gunshot wound, 20% from the impact of a car bomb, 9% from aerial bombardment, 6% as a result of an accident and 6% from another blast/ordnance. This is significant because more often that not it is car bombs and aerial bombardments that make the news – with gunshots rarely in the headlines.
As well as a murder rate that now exceeds the Rwanda genocide from 1994 (800,000 murdered), not only have more than one million been injured but our poll calculates that of the millions of Iraqis that have fled their neighbourhoods, 52% have moved within Iraq but 48% have crossed its borders, with Syria taking the brunt of refugees.
And for those left in Iraq, although 81% may describe the availability of basic groceries such as bread and fresh vegetables as “very/fairly good”, more than one in two (54%) consider them to be “expensive”.
The opinion poll was conducted by O.R.B. and the survey details are as follows:
•Results are based face-to-face interviews amongst a nationally representative sample of 1720 adults aged 18+ throughout Iraq.
•The standard margin of error on the sample size is +2.4%
•The methodology uses multi-stage random probability sampling and covers fifteen of the eighteen governorates within Iraq. For security reasons Karbala and Al Anbar were not included. Irbil was excluded as the authorities refused our field team a permit.
•Interviews conducted August 12th – 19th 2007.
•Full results and data tabulations are available at www.opinion.co.uk/newsroom.aspx
•O.R.B. are full members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules