Federation ready with assistance for one million in Iraq crisis

Geneva, 17 March 2003 - The largest-ever emergency deployment by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent in response to a potential refugee crisis is now ready to take place.
Some 30 Emergency Response Units are on stand-by to provide any refugee influx into countries neighbouring Iraq with vital life-support in the form of field hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation services. These units can provide assistance to upwards of one million people in a period of one month.

The International Federation also intends to boost the capacity of its member Red Crescent Societies in the region by providing logistics and telecommunications support to their efforts to provide shelter to 250,000 people or more in Iran (100,000); Turkey (80,000); Syria (25,000) and Jordan (25,000). Additional relief items for 20,000 people are available from regional stocks.

"The consequences of conflict in the region will be disastrous for the most vulnerable, particularly if the UN Oil-for-Food programme is disrupted. This is why we are placing so much emphasis on pre-positioning in neighbouring countries for any outflow of displaced people," said Didier Cherpitel, Secretary General of the International Federation.

The Emergency Response Units are developed by and staffed with personnel from the Red Cross Societies of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

For further information, or to set up interviews (ISDN line available in Geneva), please contact:

Denis McClean, Head, Media Service Tel: + 41 22 730 44 28 / + 41 79 217 33 57
Marie-Françoise Borel, Information officer Tel: + 41 22 730 43 46 / + 41 79 217 33 45
Media Service Duty Phone Tel: + 41 79 416 38 81

The Federation, the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For further information on Federation activities, please see our web site: