EMBARGO DEATH TOLL TOPS 1.5 MILLION

BAGHDAD, July 11 (AFP) More than 1.5 million Iraqis, 41 percent of them children under five, have died from the impact of UN sanctions in force against Iraq since August 1990, the official news agency INA reported Wednesday. Quoting an official report to the United Nations, it said shortages of medicine, vaccines and hospital equipment due to the embargo had up until the end of May claimed a total of 1,520,417 lives .The deaths included 622,887 children under the age of five, according to the report delivered to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan by Iraq's ambassador to the world body, Mohammad al-Douri.The report said that 49 percent of medical orders submitted by Iraq for approval by the UN sanctions committee had been blocked by US and British representatives on the committee. Iraq, whose health ministry last month gave a sanctions-linked death toll of almost 1.5 million by the end of May, has been under embargo since it invaded Kuwait in August 1990.Most of the deaths have been caused by diarrhoea, pneumonia and respiratory problems, as well as malnutrition, all conditions which were treatable in pre-sanctions Iraq, it said.