September 14th, 2007
A new survey by the British polling agency ORB reports over one million Iraqis have been killed by violence since the 2003 invasion. This number is even higher than that derived from the so-called “Lancet study” of Gilbert Burnham et al that last summer found about 650,00 total excess deaths from violence and deteriorating health conditions. The Lancet study has been subjected to relentless attack by the American and British governments, by Iraq Body Count, by those alleging that its methodology had a “main street bias,”and by others. During the controversy, independdent erplication of the Lancet findings were sorely missing. While it’s early to be sure, as details are not yet available, this new survey provides the potential replication, supporting the claim that violent deaths in Iraq are in the many hundreds of thousands.
Here is the press release [See also the LA Times article.]:
More than 1,000,000 Iraqis murdered since 2003 invasion
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:-
Q 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.
One death 16%
Two deaths 5%
Three deaths 1%
Four+ deaths 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 [Note: no information is posted there as of this writing.]
• O.R.B. are full members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules
Johnny Heald Munqeth Daghir
Managing Director, ORB Managing Director, Baghdad
+44 207 611 5270 +962 799672229
Notice that they found one in two households in Baghdad had lost a family member. Assuming that there are about six individuals per household [population of 25 million divided by 4 million households] and that the same ration applies in Baghdad, this would suggest, using a rough population figure for Baghdad of 5 million, that perhaps 400,000 people had been killed in Baghdad alone!
Note that the press release points out that their results, if true, mean that the death in Iraq now surpasses that from the Rwandan genocide.
While cautioning again that further details are needed, this new study provides further support for the position that Iraq deaths from the invasion are one of the great humanitarian catastrophes of modern times. This study provides strong support for the findingsof the Lancet authors.