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Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British soldiers have been embedded in the (a) Iraqi 10th division, (b) Iraqi 14th division and (c) other Iraqi units in each month since January. (200956)

We began our policy of embedding personnel within the Iraqi army and its chain of command at the beginning of April this year. Prior to this, while we were not embedding, we had established a very close and effective training relationship with first 10th Division and then, following its establishment, with 14th Division. A considerable number of UK forces remain focused on this vital work of monitoring, mentoring and training the Iraqi security forces, with many of the balance providing direct support to it.

As of 30 April 2008, 94 UK personnel were embedded with 14th Division and 73 collocated with the Basra Operations Command. In addition to this number, UK forces also provide direct and substantial assistance to the Iraqi army both in the planning and conduct of their operations. We have also established a six-strong liaison team at Basra Palace.

There are currently no British soldiers embedded with the Iraqi army's 10th Division.

We have continued in our efforts to help develop the Iraqi navy and some 116 UK personnel, based at Umm Qasr Port, have been involved in this task.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK service personnel have suffered damage to their (a) sight and (b) hearing as a consequence of service in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan. (209312)

[holding answer 6 June 2008]: The following tables show the numbers of UK service personnel who have attended the Role 2 (Enhanced), or Role 3 field hospital facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan with ophthalmic and ear nose and throat (ENT) conditions. Available records of this type do not separately identify those with only hearing problems.

Ophthalmology

Iraq (March 2003 to December 2007)

Afghanistan (April 2006 to December 2007)

Injuries

888

146

Illness

472

34

Total

1,360

180

Ear/nose/throat (ENT)

Iraq (March 2003 to December 2007)

Afghanistan (April 2006 to December 2007)

Injuries

104

23

Illness

500

58

Total

604

81

The tables show initial attendances only. The figures were compiled using the Operational Emergency Department Attendance Register (OpEDAR), which records all patients who have attended or been admitted through the A and E department of either a UK Role 2(E) or UK Role 3 operational hospital. OpEDAR is designed to capture diagnosis at the initial assessment, rather than track a patient through their care. It is possible for diagnosis to change over the course of treatment or for a patient to have multiple conditions.

These figures have been centrally compiled and there may, therefore, be a small percentage of cases that have not been entered into the reporting system.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many fatalities of service personnel in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan have been as a result of (i) heatstroke and (ii) other heat-related illness. (209649)

Since 2003, coroners’ inquests to date have found that two service personnel have died as a result of heat related conditions while serving in Iraq. There have been no heat related fatalities in Afghanistan. Additionally, one heat related fatality was recorded in Oman, in 2003, during Exercise Saif Sarea.