Friday, March 21, 2003

 Humanitarian crisis in Iraq
Humanitarian crisis in Iraq

Related to the current situation in Iraq, in the event of a massive population movement, national societies in the neighboring countries will require external support. Governments and aid workers in the region have been praying for peace while making preparations to assist any Iraqis fleeing the conflict. These preparations, however, have been limited by financial constraints. Most of the 25 million people in Iraq are expected to try to wait out the war within the country, security and food stocks permitting. For those Iraqis forced to seek help abroad, governments in neighbouring countries have been readying their emergency assistance plans with help from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Governments have offered land for refugee camps, while national relief agencies and charitable societies have set aside relief items for possible new Iraqi refugees. But there are many unknowns: how many people, how fast, where? UNHCR has an initial planning figure of 600,000 possible Iraqi refugees, but donor support so far has been insufficient to meet these needs.

Indeed, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are appealing for US$ 80 million to assist at least 305,000 people who may be forced to flee their homes. The appeal is being made on behalf of the Red Crescent Societies in Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. As fears grow that the conflict will lead to a refugee crisis, Red Crescent Societies in the region are assisting Iraqis most severely affected by the fighting with food, water, shelter and medical care. Red Crescent Societies are prepared to assist potential refugees and displaced persons as follows: 55,000 people inside Iraq, 100,000 in Iran, 25,000 in Jordan, 25,000 people in Syria and 80,000 people in Turkey. Kuwait Red Crescent is also on standby to assist displaced people. Read moreā€¦

(posted by Iman)

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