IPPNW Europe Congress (Berlin, May 7-9. 2004) Speech by Haruko Moritaki at the workshop, Uranium and Uranium Weapons

Title: An Appeal from Hiroshima for International Investigations on the DU Damages

Haruko Moritaki
NO DU Hiroshima Project

In March 2003, the United States started the Iraq War, ignoring the peoples voices all over the world and used the radioactive DU weapons again.
We participated in a peace delegation to Iraq just before the war started, but I visited Iraq again for two weeks from June to July last year as a member of the survey team sent by NO DU Hiroshima Project.
As you know, during the First Gulf War, DU weapons were used mainly in the desert areas, but it is reported that this time they have been used in the densely-populated urban areas, too. A major purpose of our trip was to find evidence for such report. We hurried in order to visit Iraq before the occupation regime would be established.

Our main activity in Iraq was to collect properly different kinds of samples. We carried out this activity under the guidance of The Research Institute for Nuclear Medicine and Biology of Hiroshima University. First, we measured each bombed area using 2 different radiation counters and collected certain amounts of soil from 13 bombed ruins. We gathered dust from destroyed tanks with filter papers. We also gathered water from water pipes and crater ponds thought to be made by bunker busters. In order to verify DU taken into human body, we collected 24-hour-urine from 22 people. We could get assistance from doctors in Baghdad and Basra to collect urine from 8 children suffering from leukemia and malignant lymphoma, 4 children with leukemia and 12 of their parents, and residents near the ruins of bombing.

Among the samples we brought back from Iraq, dust samples are analyzed at Hiroshima University and one filter sample (collected in the urban area near Baghdad) has been analyzed and found to contain uranium235 at the ratio of 0.15%. This proves that DU has been indeed used in the center of the city.

Next is about the analysis of the24-hour urine samples of the Iraqi children suffering from leukemia and malignant lymphoma. Of 18 urine samples, 5 samples were found to contain u-238 density over 100 nanograms in 1 liter. The highest figure was that of 251.0 nanograms taken form a child suffering from acute lymphocytic leukemia child, followed by 196, 195, 149 and 127 nanograms. Their average come to 72.6 nanograms, which is several times higher than, for example, the average of Japanese people.
The girl whose urine showed the highest figures of 149 to 196 nanograms had lived in a house 50 meters from a bombed spot. Other childrens houses were within 100 meters from bombed spots. A family whose samples showed the figures from 149 to 196 nanograms had lived in an intensely-bombed area in Basra.
These results are a finding in the process of the analyses being done at Kanazawa University. Unfortunately the analysis of the U-235 /238 ratio has not been carried out yet. Thus, we cannot make any conclusive argument yet. But the high uranium containment in urine could be attributed to the inhalation of fine DU powder, causing leukemia and other diseases.
Our goal is to have the analysis of all the samples completed as soon as possible in order to demand systematic, full-scale surveys by international organizations.

When we visited Iraq after the war, both children and adults seemed very tense. When I visited a hospital and wanted to convey a message with drawings by mothers in Hiroshima, one old lady shouted: I dont need such a thing, but I want this child back; I want to get his life back. Beside her grand child whose life apparently would not last even beyond the next day, she vented her anger at us, screaming Bush made him like this. My grand child has no other choice but to die. What can you do with this?

Having experienced the inhuman atrocities of the A-bomb, Hiroshima has been sending out the message of Absolute NO to Nuclear Weapons. Hiroshima has a duty to fulfill. I am not a Hibakusha myself, but I have grown up seeing closely Hibakushas sufferings including my own fathers. It is estimated that the A-bomb killed about 140,000 people by the end of 1945 in Hiroshima. And, for 59 years, many Hibakusha have been suffering due to its after-effects. Hiroshima cannot remain silent in front of the fact that, because of the radioactive DU weapons, new Hibakusha are being made in Iraq and other places.
Our earnest desire is to enlarge the solidarity among the peoples in order to achieve the abolition of DU weapons along with nuclear weapons. Lets start working for it together right now and right from here.
Thank you very much for your attention.