With the specter of imminent war in Iraq,
AmeriCares is preparing a response to a possible refugee crisis in the
Middle East. Our contacts in the region report that a mass exodus has begun
with lines 25-30 kilometers long on the roads in northern Iraq with people
trying to reach the Turkish and Iranian border areas. Estimates range as
high as 600,000 to 1 million people being displaced from their homes with
many ending up in refugee camps.
AmeriCares is working with Turkish government officials including representatives from the Ministry of Health as well as the Red Crescent Society and Blue Crescent Society in anticipation of a large refugee population moving north. Disaster relief supplies such as blankets, water containers, and clothing as well as medicines and nutritionals are in route to staging areas in Turkey. These supplies will aid refugees who settle along the Turkish border. An AmeriCares staff member leaves Friday to coordinate our relief efforts in Turkey.
Preparations are also underway to prepare for a possible mass refugee exodus into other bordering countries. Contributions of medicines and other relief aid are arriving in our warehouses in Connecticut and Europe for transport to the region. Relief supplies are being readied for a possible air shipment to our partner in Jordan, the American Near East Refugee Aid organization.