Iran: CRS (Singapore) is involved in providing food for 2000 people in BAFIA Camp

Originally published
1. Crisis Relief Society is pleased to announce the launch of the project Peace Iran-BAFIA Camp. The "Peace Iran-BAFIA Camp" project needs S$800,000 (US$600,000) to go towards food relief. Crisis Relief Society (Singapore) is hoping to find 2,000 people who are willing to contribute S$400 (US$250) each. This S$400 (US$250) would be able to provide three meals a day for one earthquake victim in Bam for six months.
2. CRS will be in charge of the administration of the entire project from fund-raising in Singapore to food procurement from suppliers in Iran. The food distribution will be done together with BAFIA camp officials.

3. This relief program in Bam is named "Peace Iran" because the word "peace" in Arabia is "Salem", the most commonly used greeting by Iranians when they meet one another. As Singaporeans and Malaysians go to Iran to serve the people in Bam, it is our desire to bring greetings of "salem" to the people of Bam as they overcome these difficult days, look forward and rebuild their lives after the earthquake.

4. Partners and sponsors of CRS include Operation Blessing (Singapore), Red Cross of Singapore, Baby Angel (Infant Care), Chris Clothes (Children Clothes), Winner Press, Anglican Crisis Relief, Emirates, Operation Mercy and others. Volunteers of CRS come mainly from Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of Asia and they include logisticians, accountants and medical personnel.

5. This food distribution project can be considered one of the biggest earthquake relief projects ever undertaken by Singaporeans in terms of the nature of the programme, the scope and reach of the Project.

6. Dr Michael Lim, the President of Crisis Relief Society (Singapore) has already made two trips to Iran to gain a deeper understanding of the people and the situation after the earthquake in Bam on 26 December 2004. The Bam earthquake has taken more than 42,000 lives and has caused severe destruction to properties in Bam and the surrounding areas. "WE are supportive of the Iranian government's effort in relief. The relief required is enormous. Many people in Bam, especially the young and vulnerable will still need your supporting hands as they try to rebuild their lives, their hopes and their futures. We have carefully assessed the areas of needs and determined the form of relief that we are able to provide. At this point of time, CRS is concentrating on food and nutrition."

7. In Tehran, Dr Lim met up with senior government officials of BAFIA (Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs). The cordial one-and-a-half hour meeting concluded with CRS being assigned to provide food for BAFIA camp in Bam which is now home to 2,000 earthquake victims. BAFIA was instrumental in arranging the necessary papers required for CRS to go to Bam and work in the BAFIA camp.

8. Dr Lim is glad that CRS has the opportunity to provide food to the Bam earthquake victims. Dr Lim recalls a previous interview with one family in Bam. The Iranian family readily invited the CRS survey team into their tent along the street to show them the break and water that they have been surviving on. They were only getting meat once a week then. The entire family had not tasted a single orange since the earthquake. The grandmother was weeping into the arms of Ms Lam as she related how she had lost two grandchildren during the earthquake. The grandfather was also in teams and he kept bring both hands to his forehead as a sign of great grief. He pointed to the tattered pants and said that they have no money to buy food after the earthquake and would appreciate food distribution very much. He was concerned that the family would not be healthy given their simple diet.

9. Iranian senior government officials have been working against time and long hours to bring relief. The discussion on BAFIA camp was concluded well after office hours. It was noticed that the senior government official of BAFIA was still smiling throughout the meeting and communicating very patiently as he concluded a day of endless meetings. To him, every extra hour put in is worth it as it translates into relief for his people in Bam.

10. With your kind support, CRS has already launched a fruit distribution project for six months. Peace Iran-Fruits and Vitamins was launched in January 2004. In conjunction with the World Food Program, CRS has identified the need for vitamin supplements for the people of Bam. To date, CRS has distributed more than 20,000 oranges and it plans to distribute more than 1,000,000 oranges over the next 6 months.

11. The BAFIA camp officials were touched by the CRS team's attitude of service. "You are helping us in the day time and you slept with us in the tents in the night. Thank you." CRS has decided that other than being involved in huge projects, the future teams going up are to help with camp maintenance to show that even small deeds count in this act of love.

12. Dr Stephen Chang, a surgeon with the Alexandra Hospital, a member of the CRS team, has been on numerous projects around the world to help in medical missions and other humanitarian projects. He has this to say, "I've learnt so much about serving people since coming to Iran with CRS. I am enjoying myself with this team. Although the weather is cold and it snowed the day we arrived, we are so blessed to be here". This is the first time that Dr Chang's wife, Dr Neo Jong Jong is on a relief trip and she says, "I am cold" with a huge smile and warmth in her heart. She is training to be a rehabilitation physician with Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

13. About Crisis Relief Singapore (CRS)

Crisis Relief Singapore (CRS) was registered in Singapore as a humanitarian relief organisation in August 2000. Crisis Relief Society (Singapore) aims to reach, help and bring love and hope to victims in crisis-hit locations in practical ways, with particular attention to the disadvantaged groups such as women and young children. Crisis Relief Society (Singapore) aims to raise awareness in Singaporeans concerning relief work and also to promote unity among relief workers from Singapore.

Members of the society have been involved in the Turkey earthquake relief in 1999, Timor Leste post-independence humanitarian relief in 2000, Bangladesh flood relief in 2000, Bario (Malaysia) medical work in 2001, India in 2001, Post-Taliban Afghanistan humanitarian relief in 2002 and Mongolia Winter relief in 2003.

Basic training courses in counselling, cross cultural communications and survival skills had also been carried out with CRS members who have the same passion in volunteering to provide assistance in overseas humanitarian relief projects.

14. For more information, donations and updates on "Peace Iran", please contact:
Crisis Relief Society (Singapore)
Tel: (65) 9383 1549 (Office)