Thursday, June 5, 2014

Deaths In Iraq Increased In May 2014

 
Most of the agencies that track deaths in Iraq saw an increase from April to May 2014. The differences arise from the sources that each organization uses. For those groups that did record an uptick, May turned out to be the deadliest month of the year.

Four out of five groups had fatalities going up in Iraq in May. Iraq Body Count went from 1,013 deaths in April to 1,027 in May. The United Nations along with the Anbar Health Directorate had 885 in April and 994 in May. Agence France Presse had the largest jump from 796 to 1,075, while Musings On Iraq counted 1,456 fatalities in April up to 1,468 in May. The only group that dissented was the Iraqi government that reported 1,009 deaths in April down to 938 in May. For Iraq Body Count, the U.N., and Agence France Presse last month was the costliest of the year in terms of lives lost.

The bigger difference between the groups was not the recent monthly totals, but the trends throughout the year. Iraq Body Count for example has had deaths at the same level throughout the year at 33.4 per day. The Iraqi ministries have been around the same range as well with a dip in February to 28.2, but the other four months were at around 32 deaths per day. The United Nations’ numbers are harder to compare because for the first two months of 2014 they did not include Anbar due to the violence there. From March to May they mentioned figures from the Anbar Health Directorate instead of ones they independently collected. Together those two have seen a steady increase from 24.1 in March to 32.0 in May. Agence France Presse has seen the most variation throughout 2014. Deaths went down from January’s 26.6 to a nadir in March at 16.5 per day when the group recorded only 512 fatalities the lowest of any organization the entire year, and then they increased from April to May from 26.5 to 34.6. Musings On Iraq has also seen variations going from 47.8 in January to 45.5 in February then reaching a high of 51.8 in March before seeing a decline for the next two months. The reason for the variations in totals and averages is that each organization relies upon different sources. Iraq Body Count uses media reports from international news agencies and Iraqi papers that are in English. The Iraqi government figures are based upon the Interior, Defense, and Health Ministries. The two security agencies always have lower figures than the Iraqi press however. At the same time Baghdad has been releasing much more realistic numbers over the past several months after consistently having some of the lowest deaths counts in previous years. The U.N. uses its own field offices, the press, and the Iraqi government. Agence France Presse relies upon its reporters and government and medical sources as confirmation. Musings On Iraq uses English language sources such as the press agencies and both the English and Arabic versions of the Iraqi press. None of these collections are comprehensive as there are plenty of attacks and casualties that are missed by the government or press. At the same time they all agree that violence is going up in the country.
 
Deaths In Iraq 2003-2013
Month/Year
Iraq Body Count
Avg. Daily Deaths
Iraqi Ministries
Avg. Daily Deaths
United Nations
Avg. Daily Deaths
Agence France Presse
Avg. Daily Deaths
Musings On Iraq
Avg. Daily Deaths
2003
4,675
19.0
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
2004
11,608
31.8l
11,313
30.99
-
-
-
-
-
-
2005
16,186
44.2
15,817
43.3
-
-
-
-
-
-
2006
29,144
79.8
32,622
89.3
34,452
94.3
-
-
-
-
2007
25,519
69.9
19,155
52.4
-
-
-
-
-
-
2008
9,839
26.9
9,046
24.7
11,536
31.6
-
-
-
-
2009
5,132
14.0
3,682
10.0
4,611
12.6
-
-
-
-
2010
4,109
11.2
3,949
10.8
4,855
13.3
-
-
-
-
2011
4,147
11.3
2,781
7.6
4,150
11.3
-
-
-
-
2012
4,573
12.5
2,174
5.9
3,878
10.6
1,531
(7 mo.)
7.1
-
-
Jan. 2013
357
11.5
177
5.7
319
10.2
246
7.9
-
-
Feb.
360
12.7
136
4.8
418
14.9
220
7.8
-
-
Mar.
403
13.0
163
5.2
456
14.7
271
8.7
-
-
Apr.
545
18.1
208
6.9
712
23.7
461
15.3
-
-
May
888
28.6
681
21.9
1,045
33.7
614
19.8
-
-
Jun.
659
21.9
240
8.0
761
25.3
452
15.0
-
-
Jul.
1,145
36.9
989
31.9
1,057
34.0
875
28.2
-
-
Aug.
1,012
32.6
365
11.7
804
25.9
693
22.3
-
-
Sep.
1,221
40.7
971
32.3
979
32.6
880
29.3
-
-
Oct.
1,095
35.3
964
31.0
979
31.5
743
23.9
-
-
Nov.
903
30.1
948/
1,121
31.6/
37.3
659
21.9
693
23.1
-
-
Dec.
983
31.7
1,001
32.2
759
24.4
668
21.5
-
-
2013 Totals
9,571
25.9
6,843/
7,016
18.7/
19.2
8,948
24.5
6,818
18.6
-
-
Jan. 2014
1,076
34.7
1,013
32.6
733*
23.6
991
31.9
1,483
47.8
Feb.
930
33.2
790
28.2
703*
25.1
747
26.6
1,274
45.5
Mar.
1,009
32.5
1,004
32.3
748
24.1
512
16.5
1,606
51.8
Apr.
1,013
33.7
1,009
33.6
885
29.5
796
26.5
1,456
48.5
May
1,027
33.1
938
30.2
994
32.0
1,075
34.6
1,468
47.5
2014
Totals
5,055
33.4
4,754
31.4
4,063
26.9
4,121
27.2
7,287
48.2
* Figures do not include Anbar


SOURCES

Agence France Presse, “Iraq casualties from violence (2014)”

Faraj, Salam, “Attacks kill 16 as May toll tops 900,” Agence France Presse, 6/1/14

Iraq Body Count, “Database”

5 comments:

joshdibc said...

Hey Joel, just a couple quick comments. I think you may want to note that the IBC numbers are for civilian deaths and are therefore somewhat different than some of the other numbers. For example, I think the reason your own count is several hundred higher than IBC here is probably mostly to do with the fact that you're including soldiers, insurgents, etc., while IBC is limited to civilians. It may partly be due to different sources or interpretations but I'd bet it's mostly to do with the civilian/combant difference, but you don't mention this difference. So I'd assume that your and our totals actually aren't as far apart as the total numbers appear.

Also, IBC does include Arabic sources from the Iraqi press, such as Al-Sumaria, Al-Rayy, Al-Masalah and others.

Joel Wing said...

Hi Josh

Know that IBC only includes civilians, sahwa and police. My count does not count insurgents just civilians, soldiers, police, Sahwa, peshmerga.

In May 2014 for example I have 875 civilians, 506 ISF, 77 Sahwa, 1 Peshmerga. The 506 ISF was roughly 60% soldiers, 40% police.

Didn't know IBC started including the Arabic press already.

Joel Wing said...

Josh forgot to add. Although all the big attacks like bombings are included in the vast majority of reporting the Iraqi papers are not so consistent on smaller incidents. For example one paper I read is good on Anbar and Baghdad but says very little about attacks in Salahaddin and Diyala. The point being the more papers that are included the more information you're going to get about attacks and casualties.

joshdibc said...

Interesting. I wasn't clear on exactly what you did or didn't include. Still, if you drop around 300 soldiers then most of the difference in your and our numbers goes away and they wind up much closer than they appear from just the totals.

I'm curious why you chose not to include insurgents. What is the reasoning there?

On the Arabic issue, IBC has been including Arabic sources since around last fall. This started out with a few and has grown a bit, partly thanks to ones that you've cited that we didn't know about (thanks!). Prior to that we limited to stuff that was in English or which was translated from Arabic into English by professional services.

Joel Wing said...

Josh

Yes I remember our conversation on the Arabic sources. I just didn't realize that you had already started including them in your count.

Don't include insurgents because trying to cover the violence they are causing and not interested in their losses.

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