CONTACT: Franne Van der Keilen
(410) 625-2220, ext. 3505
Baltimore, December 7, 1999 - Catholic Relief Services announced its commitment to respond to a Caritas Internationalis appeal to support Caritas food distribution programs in Iraq for the month of December.
Catholic Relief Services responded to the appeal following Bishop Anthony Pilla's USCC statement on Iraq welcoming the Iraqi government's pledge to accept renewed monitoring and inspections, as well as the U.S. government's decision to suspend its planned attacks on Iraq.
Bishop Pilla asked the international community to end the threat to the lives, livelihood, and basic rights of innocent Iraqi people. "The international community should not resort to means which effectively punish the Iraqi people for the actions of an authoritarian regime over which they have no control," stated Bishop Pilla.
During the month of December, Caritas Iraq plans to distribute baby cereal, powdered milk and tomato and vegetable paste to 30,000 poor and disadvantaged families in Iraq.
Catholic Relief Services has provided about $600,000 of humanitarian assistance to Iraq in the past six years, primarily in the form of medicines and medical supplies which have been sent via Caritas Iraq to hospitals in Baghdad and to clinics in Mosul and Kirkuk. Catholic Relief Services is currently developing a more comprehensive strategy for assistance to Iraq.
Catholic Relief Services is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Founded in 1943, the agency provides assistance to people in more than 80 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Catholic Relief Services provides assistance on the basis of need, not race, creed or nationality.