Geneva (ICRC) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today asked donors for an additional 35 million Swiss francs to allow it to substantially expand its humanitarian work in Iraq. The additional funds requested will bring the organization's total budget for Iraq in 2007 to just over 91 million francs. It will continue to work closely with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society to meet the most urgent needs of the population.
"This conflict is inflicting immense suffering on all Iraqis," said Béatrice Mégevand-Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Middle East and North Africa. "People directly affected by the crisis are finding it increasingly difficult to cope. The ICRC is therefore stepping up its work to be able to better respond to needs throughout the country." It would focus on improving health care, the water supply and sanitation services, she added.
Part of the funds requested will be used to help the growing numbers of internally displaced people, the communities who host them, and other vulnerable groups including the elderly, disabled people, orphans and female-headed households. Working closely with the Iraqi Red Crescent, the ICRC plans to step up its distributions of food and other essential items to reach some 110,000 destitute households (about 660,000 people) - more than twice the number initially planned for. Communities hosting displaced people will also benefit from additional income-generating projects to help ensure a sustainable livelihood.
To improve medical care, the ICRC will boost the quantity and range of urgently needed medical supplies, equipment and surgical items it provides for hospital emergency rooms and operating theatres, particularly in conflict areas. This should strengthen the hospitals' ability to respond to mass-casualty emergencies.
The requested funds will also help further improve access to clean water by restoring basic water, sanitation and health infrastructure damaged or rendered unusable by armed violence.
The ICRC remains strongly committed to meeting the most basic needs of Iraqis. However, humanitarian assistance alone is not enough to address the immense requirements of the population in the present disastrous security situation.
The ICRC once again urges all those with military or political influence on the ground to take action to ensure that the lives of ordinary people in Iraq are spared. This is an obligation under international humanitarian law for both States and non-State actors.
For further information, please contact:
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel
: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
ICRC Iraq, tel : +962 65 52 39 94 or + 962 777 399 614
or visit the ICRC's website: www.icrc.org