The authors of the WHO study, which covers the period between 2003 and 2006, said the new figure could be anywhere "between 104,000 and 223,000 allowing for misreporting," and "points to a massive death toll in the wake of the 2003 invasion and represents only one of the many health and human consequences of an ongoing humanitarian crisis," reports the Guardian.
The survey from the Iraqi Family Health Survey Group was carried out by trained employees of the health ministry who visited 10,860 households – 10 from each of more than 1,000 clusters across the 18 provinces of Iraq. Because of the insecurity, 115 (11%) of the clusters could not be visited – mostly in Anbar and Baghdad – so calculations were made to account for the probable number of deaths in those places. Researchers asked heads of households if there had been any deaths in the two years before or three years after the invasion in 2003.
Account was taken of under-reporting of deaths, which is usual in household surveys, not least because families often move when somebody dies. The survey also allowed for the out-migration of up to 2 million people between March 2003 and June 2006.
The estimates have varied widely. The Iraq Body Count, a nongovernmental group based in Britain that bases its numbers on news media accounts, put the number of civilians dead at 47,668 during the same period of time as the World Health Organization study, the W.H.O. report said. President Bush in the past used a number that was similar to one put forward at the time by the Iraq Body Count.