Caritas prepares to help thousands of Iraqi civilians

Report
from Caritas
Published on 19 Mar 2003
"Caritas Australia is supporting its partner in the region, Caritas Iraq, to prepare to help thousands of Iraqi civilians should there be a strike targeting Iraq," said Jack de Groot, Caritas Australia's National Director.
To cope with an emergency situation Caritas Iraq is setting up clinics to operate as first aid centres in the event of bombing. Caritas Iraq with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and the Iraq Red Cross has equipped 40 medical centres with needed medical equipment and is training 42 doctors and 220 volunteers in emergency medical responses.

"Caritas medical centres will be responsible for taking in war casualties for first aid and for forwarding severe cases to the nearest hospital," said Mr de Groot.

"The training, equipment and supplies will allow Caritas Iraq to offer life-saving care to innocent civilians caught up in any possible conflict," he said.

Caritas Iraq has also taken measures to ensure water supplies by digging surface wells in the Caritas Centers and in the Churches, which are being prepared as emergency shelters.

Caritas Iraq Liaison Officer in Amman, Mr. Faiq Bourachi is working with the Caritas Internationalis network in Iraq to prepare for an emergency.

"The victims of a conflict will be the most vulnerable people, the children of Iraq," Mr Bourachi said.

"No one knows how many innocent civilians would be killed in an attack. We believe it will be tens of thousands," he said.

"we are expecting the transport and communication systems will be paralysed. Two thirds of the population, between 14 and 16 million people, are currently dependent on the UN food rations and there are few, if any, coping mechanisms for them once the food distribution is disrupted and the water and sanitation systems collapse," he said.

For further information or to organise an interview with Mr Faiq Bourachi, Caritas Iraq Liaison Officer in Amman please contact:

Katie Ritchie, Caritas Australia
Phone: (02) 9956 5799
Mobile: 0417 284 831
Email: katier@caritas.org.au