Children are major victims of food insecurity
"Under-nutrition should not be accepted in a country like Iraq, with its wealth of resources,"
The children of Iraq are caught up in war for the third time in 20 years.
The aftermath of the US-led invasion has seen widespread violence, with militant and sectarian attacks and killings preventing a return to normal life for many Iraqis and hindering humanitarian aid efforts.
"Decades of conflict and economic sanctions have had serious effects on Iraqis," the report said. "Their consequences have been rising unemployment, illiteracy and, for some families, the loss of wage earners."
The survey was conducted by the ministries of planning and health supported by the UN World Food Program and the UN Children's Fund UNICEF.
David Singh, a spokesman for UNICEF's Iraq Support Centre in neighbouring Jordan, said the number of acutely malnourished children had more than doubled, to 9 per cent in 2005 from 4 per cent in 2002, the last year of Saddam's rule.
Many children in homes lacking sufficient food suffered from chronic malnutrition, the UN agency added. "This can irreversibly hamper the young child's optimal mental/cognitive development, not just their physical development," Roger Wright, UNICEF's special representative for Iraq, said in its statement.
The report states:
"households could no longer afford the expenses of schooling, that the schools were located too far away from home and that some children had to be sent to work to supplement household incomes...
"increased unemployment, illiteracy, weakened infrastructure – power and water and sanitation in particular – and the direct loss of wage-earners for many families."
IRAQ: UN report cites vast under-nutrition among children
Food Insecurity in Iraq Persists: Children Suffer - Unicef