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Iraqi Hospitals Overwhelmed

Iraqi Hospitals Overwhelmed

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GENEVA (AP) -- The number of casualties in the Iraqi capital is so high that hospitals there have stopped keeping count, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

"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," an ICRC statement said.

"Ambulances are picking up the wounded and running them to the triage areas and on to hospitals. Some of the wounded try to reach the nearest hospitals by foot," the statement said.

The ICRC has teams in Baghdad, Basra and northern Iraq, but the fighting has made it too dangerous for them to work, Jakob Kellenberger, the group's president, said in an interview.

"It is an extremely precarious situation, and we remain worried," he told the French financial daily Les Echos in an interview published Monday. "The situation is preoccupying and we have to expect that it will become even worse."

The ICRC -- 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 forces.

"All of the hospitals are under pressure and the medical staff is working without respite," an ICRC statement said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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