The scale of the fighting in the Iraqi town of Falluja last week is becoming clear as a shaky ceasefire takes hold.
A group of five international charities estimated that about 470 people had been killed, while hospital officials put the death toll at about 600.
Reuters television footage from Falluja showed corpses of children, women and old men lying in the street beside body parts no one has had time to collect.
"Hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed," the five charities said.
They added that they were "asking desperately for blood, oxygen and antiseptics".
The group said that at a conservative estimate, about 1,200 had been wounded, according to Reuters, which did not name the aid agencies involved.
Residents of Falluja have reportedly been burying the dead in their gardens and a football field because it is too dangerous to go to the cemeteries on the outskirts of town...
Half the Iraqis Killed Were Civilians
Agence France Presse, 4/13/04
Half the Iraqis killed in a US offensive in the town of Fallujah were women, children and elderly people, a mediator said Tuesday, but US officials insisted they take all precautions to avoid non-combattants.
Fouda Rawi, senior member of the Iraqi Islamic Party spearheading efforts to negotiate a ceasefire in the city west of Baghdad, quoted hospital sources as saying more than 600 Iraqis had been killed and 1,250 wounded.
"Among those killed were 160 women, 141 children and many elderly," he told AFP, providing the first precise figures on the number of civilian deaths from the nearly week-long offensive..."