Speaking at the daily briefing by UN agencies in Amman, the World Health Organisation spokeswoman said that international staff would be returned to Baghdad as soon as it was safe to do so, but that in the meantime the ability of hospitals to do their work was being severely curtailed by civil disorder. Hospital workers were fearful of travelling to work and deliveries of medical supplies were being hindered. The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) spokesman reported that their own offices in Baghdad had been looted. The sumptuous homes of former senior Baath party officials, including those of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, were also ransacked.

UK International Development Secretary Clare Short reiterated the warnings of the aid agencies in a statement to MPs on 10 April. ‘Over the last few days, we have received reports of an increasingly serious humanitarian situation in Baghdad,’ she said. ‘Hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, electricity is mostly out of order, some parts of the city no longer have access to piped water.’ And Short echoed Annan in saying that as occupying forces US and UK troops had a responsibility under international law to impose law and order.