Iraq + 3 more

IMC continues preparations for humanitarian intervention in Iraq

LOS ANGELES -- Preparations to address a potential humanitarian emergency in Iraq are ongoing at International Medical Corps (IMC), a Los Angeles-based global relief and development organization dedicated to providing health care, medical aid and other assistance in emergency settings around the world.
To expedite IMC's response should war occur, supplies and equipment have been pre-positioned and planning teams are currently on the ground in Jordan, Kuwait and Turkey. Team members are engaged in various logistical and analytical tasks, including the identification of vulnerable populations, coordinating with other relief agencies, and resource planning.

IMC representatives were recently in Baghdad to assess prevailing health conditions. The trip provided valuable information, which IMC recently shared with representatives from 15 other aid groups in the region. The briefing by IMC is also indicative of the heightened level of coordination among those preparing for the possibility of a large-scale health emergency in Iraq, particularly Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Much of the improved coordination and communication among NGOs can be attributed to the Joint NGO Emergency Preparedness Initiative for Iraq (JNEPI), which was established by IMC and four other leading organizations. The primary purpose of JNEPI is to serve as a focal point for inter-agency communication within the international NGO community active in and around the region. By serving as an information clearinghouse, JNEPI is also helping to streamline other NGO interactions, including those with host government authorities, the United Nations, and donors such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

"IMC is pleased to have partnered with four fellow NGOs in bringing about the creation of JNEPI," said Nancy A. Aossey, President and CEO of IMC. "It's there to serve as a resource for any NGO planning an intervention in Iraq and to help all the participating groups maximize their efforts to aid civilians should a war occur."

IMC is also providing leadership on two fronts regarding widespread concern over the potential impact of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives (CBRNE) any relief operations that occur in response to a conflict in Iraq. On one front, IMC staff members currently in Jordan, who have received special CBRNE training from USAID, are providing training and information to other NGOs and their staff members in the region. On another front, IMC is involved in a unique collaboration with UCLA aimed at increasing awareness within the international humanitarian community about the consequences of CBRNE threats to their own staffs and the populations they seek to serve.

IMC and the UCLA Center for International Emergency Medicine (CIEM) with support from USAID/OFDA are close to completing their work on developing an interactive multi-media CD-ROM-based Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Responder training program that targets the project management and field staff of international NGOs preparing humanitarian interventions in Iraq.

The MCI training CD has several broad educational objectives, including protecting the health of field staff in the event of a CBRNE incident; reviewing field triage principles in the context of a CBRNE attack and examining the initial management of victims in such a situation; and stimulating contingency planning and coordination of interagency responses to a CBRNE event.

Provided in an efficient, portable, reality-based, cost-effective and original format, the training CD will be available free of charge for widespread distribution to humanitarian agencies by the end of March 2003.