GENEVA - The number of casualties in Baghdad is so high that hospitals have stopped counting the number of people treated, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday.
"No one is able to keep accurate statistics of the admitted and transferred war wounded any longer as one emergency arrival follows the other in the hospitals of Baghdad," the ICRC said in a statement.
Dahoud Salim holds his nieces Dalhia Nasser, 10, left, and Mihad Ali, 3, at al-Kindi hospital Sunday, April 6, 2003, in Baghdad. Both children were injured when their house collapsed, killing their father, during bombing raids on the outskirts of Baghdad Saturday. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
"Ambulances are picking up the wounded and running them to the triage areas and on to hospitals," it said. "Some of the wounded try to reach the nearest hospitals by foot."
The neutral Swiss-run organization - the main aid agency left in Iraq - gave no estimates on the number of deaths and did not confirm U.S. Central Command estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 Iraqi fighters were killed in Saturday's foray into Baghdad by American armored vehicles.
"All of the hospitals are under pressure and the medical staff is working without respite," said the ICRC statement. "Despite the intense and desperate activity, hospital staff is still managing the situation."
But it said that hospitals urgently needed more water supplies. Given the general power outage in Baghdad, most hospitals and water installations are now being powered by backup generators. It said it was getting many requests for service kits, spare parts and repairs for water plants.
The ICRC said that Red Cross delegates who reached the southern city of Basra reported that the medical situation was generally under control and that there were no signs of epidemics. But it said it feared the worst for other hospitals outside Baghdad and Basra.
© 2003 The Associated Press