Iraq + 4 more

Iraq: World Vision ready to bring aid in event of conflict

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by James Addis
Amman, Jordan. 14th March, 2003 - World Vision is gravely concerned about the increasing likelihood of war against Iraq but has pushed ahead with plans to respond in the event of a humanitarian crisis throughout the region. An airlift of relief supplies concluded successfully today when a World Vision chartered Ilyushin heavy transport plane landed at Amman's Queen Alia international airport.

The plane was loaded from World Vision's Global Pre-positioning Unit warehouses in Brindisi, Italy, and arrived in Amman at 2.50pm. World Vision Middle East vice-president Dave Robinson, who was on the flight, described it as a great success.

World Vision Middle East relief manager Ton van Zutphen said even at this late hour the agency hoped that war might be averted for the sake of the 13 million children and their families. But such a hope should not be allowed to interfere with preparations for an emergency.

"It would be irresponsible to be unprepared in the light of the extremely serious threat war poses to those who will suffer, and our concern about the humanitarian consequences of this war is great," he said.

World Vision is ready to deliver assistance to refugees fleeing Iraq into Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran. It further plans to work in Iraq, should conditions permit.

World Vision's initial relief response will include the provision of food, blankets, kitchen sets and jerry cans for refugees fleeing to north eastern Syria, and at three refugee camps close to the Iraqi border in Western Iran. The agency plans to establish similar programmes in Jordan and to a lesser extent in Turkey.

"Many lives are at stake here. The more resources at our disposal the better we can help people in need. We hope and trust people will support these efforts," Mr van Zutphen said.

For more information email newsvision@wvi.org.