News Release

Study Finds 100,000 “Excess” Civilian Deaths Since Iraq Invasion


The leading medical journal The Lancet has just published a study on civilian mortality in Iraq since the invasion.

Co-author of the report, Dr. Roberts is an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He said today: “Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths, and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. We have shown that the collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to changes to reduce non-combatant deaths from air strikes.”

Roberts added:

* “Violence was the primary cause of death after the invasion; violent deaths were widespread, reported in 15 of 33 clusters surveyed, and were mainly attributed to coalition forces (predominantly air strikes). Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. The risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher than in the period before the war. The major causes of death before the invasion were heart attack, stroke, and chronic illness.”

* “We did the survey to investigate the effect of the Iraq war on civilian deaths by comparing mortality during the 14.6 months before the March 2003 invasion with the 17.8 months after it. We interviewed a total of 988 households from 33 randomly selected neighborhoods of Iraq; in those households reporting deaths since January 2002, the date, cause, and circumstances of violent deaths were recorded.”

* “Overall, the risk of death was 2.5 times greater after the invasion, although the risk was 1.5 times higher if mortality around Fallujah (where two-thirds of violent deaths were reported) is excluded. The investigators estimate that a 1.5 times increase in deaths equates to an excess of 98,000 deaths relating to the Iraq conflict, although this estimate would be much greater if Fallujah data is included.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167