Iraq: World Concern prepares relief response in Middle East

SEATTLE - Seattle-based World Concern has joined a faith-based consortium of international relief agencies and local partners in the Middle East to develop a contingency plan in the event of a relief emergency in Iraq. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that more than 600,000 refugees will flee Iraq for safer areas if war occurs, but others have predicted as many as 2 million refugees. World Concern's objective will be to help care for the thousands of refugees expected to flee into Jordan.
World Concern Relief Director Kelly Miller recently returned from meeting with the consortium partners in Cyprus. The plan they developed focuses on transit camp management along the Jordan / Iraqi border. Jordanian officials have estimated that more than 5,000 people per day could arrive at the camp once military action begins. Once there, families will receive food, shelter, sanitation and a safe environment until they are able to return to their home countries.

Access to Iraq has been difficult for US-based humanitarian organizations and, though restrictions are now easing, most are still choosing to implement their work through local partners. After an in-depth analysis of the situation, World Concern made the decision to work through the consortium, which includes members who have extensive experience and a solid reputation in the region. "In situations as complex as the one in the Middle East, it is important for organizations to combine resources and expertise in order to safely and effectively help as many families as possible," stated Miller.

A spokesperson for the consortium added, "Experience from the first Gulf War taught us the critical need for preparedness, planning and collaboration among partner agencies. This is all the more critical in Iraq due to the possible size of the humanitarian need, the lack of experience on anyone's part in dealing with chemical and biological weapons, and the modest humanitarian capacity inside Iraq and in neighboring nations."

Seattle-based World Concern has been providing life, opportunity and hope to families in need worldwide since 1955. World Concern's Middle East relief response is currently funded solely by private donations. For more information or to make a donation, please call (800) 755-5022 or visit Gifts by check or money order can also be mailed to World Concern, Iraq Refugee Relief, 19303 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98133.

Contact: Teri Johnson, Director of Media Relations
Direct: (206) 546-7386 / Toll free: (800) 755-5022
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