Development and Peace appeals for donations to help suffering Iraqis

TORONTO / March 19, 2003 - The Canadian Catholic Organization for DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE (CCODP) is appealing to Canadians to donate additional funds to aid victims of the war in Iraq. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is the emergency aid and international development arm of the Canadian Catholic Church.
The organization announced today that it is immediately sending $100,000 in additional funding to Iraq. The money will be used initially to minimize loss of life and meet Iraqis' basic needs by providing medicine, temporary shelter, drinking water, blankets and food. If refugees from the war begin moving into neighbouring countries, support will also be provided to help them.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE funds are already at work in Iraq as a result of contingency planning that international aid agencies undertook last fall to ensure that help would be available after the start of hostilities.

Canadians' donations have been used to prepare stockpiles of medicine; train 42 doctors and 220 volunteers to cope with large numbers of casualties; and prepare shelters to house those displaced by bombing. Church buildings in cities across Iraq (including Baghdad, Mosul, Quarakoush, Kirkuk and Basrah) have been converted into emergency shelters and equipped with such things as water pumps, cots, blankets and latrines.

Medical equipment has also been sent to 18 Red Crescent centers, 14 Caritas Iraq centers and 8 hospitals to allow them to offer life-saving medical care to injured civilians.

In the longer-term, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE will continue working to strengthen its local partners in the region so that they will be better prepared to cope with the aftermath of the war.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has been working for many years to lessen the suffering caused by the trade embargo that the United Nations imposed on Iraq at the end of the Gulf War. Prior to today's contribution DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE had already sent $100,000 to help the poorest and most vulnerable among the population, especially mothers and children.

The money was channelled through Caritas Internationalis, the Catholic Church's Rome-based network of international aid and development agencies.

Contributions can be made by phoning (1-888-664-DEVP) or by mailing a cheque to:

5633 Sherbrooke St. East
Montréal (QC) H1N 1A3

The Cheque should be marked: "DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE - Iraq"

For additional information:

TORONTO: Jack Panozzo (416) 922-1592
MONTREAL: François Gloutnay (514) 257-8711