CARE International established operations
in Iraq following the Gulf War in 1991, beginning with the distribution
of 12,000 tons of food to more than 500,000 Kurds recently returned from
the mountains along the Turkish border.
Since then, CARE is the only international non-governmental organization (INGO) to have maintained a continuous presence and program in the center and southern region of Iraq. From 1991 to 1995, CARE also was the major implementing partner to the U.N. Inter-Agency Humanitarian Program in northern Iraq. CARE provided monthly food storage and logistics to between 300,000 and 500,000 people per month; provided up to 10 million litres of winter heating fuel to 550,000 families; and provided logistical support and other assistance to other U.N. Agencies. Since 1991, CARE's programs have provided humanitarian relief assistance to more than 7 million people -- approximately one-third of the population of Iraq.
From 1991 to 1995, CARE's programs were located in the northern Kurdish regions of Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, and in Iraq's central and southern regions. Programs included school and infant feeding projects and school repairs projects in Anbar, Babel, Diyala and Najaf. In 1995 CARE also began pediatric hospital feeding in 97 hospitals in all 14 governorates of central and southern Iraq.
As the humanitarian crisis worsened in central and southern Iraq, CARE focused humanitarian activities exclusively in those regions through projects in health, water and sanitation, and working with children.
CARE has developed an integrated approach for water and health rehabilitation projects. Underpinning each project is an improvement in the quantity and quality of potable water supplied to the population, which directly impacts overall health. Hospital patients, for example, benefit from the improved water and better hygiene.
Working with the Ministry of Health, CARE Iraq provides supplementary food and lactose-free milk to 97 pediatric hospitals. CARE has also been working in a capacity-building role, providing training courses, educational materials and equipment for teachers. Rehabilitation work has also been carried out on two orphanages and two schools for the handicapped.