Members of Mercy Corps' Global Emergency Operations (GEO) team have performed preliminary needs assessments in the region and are coordinating with a consortium of international humanitarian aid organizations to prepare for a major humanitarian relief effort in the event of a military conflict.
The United Nations estimates that a conflict in Iraq could place an estimated 10 million civilians, including more than two million refugees and displaced persons, at risk of hunger and disease and in need of immediate assistance.
Mercy Corps' global partner, Peace Winds Japan, continues to operate humanitarian programs in the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq. Peace Winds Japan runs medical clinics within the refugee camps and operates mobile medical clinics to reach those needing medical assistance in remote areas. Additionally, the organization is providing food and housing assistance to refugees in the region.
Mercy Corps operates programs in countries throughout the Middle East, including Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank. The agency responded to a devastating earthquake in Turkey in 1999 and provided humanitarian assistance to refugees during the Gulf War in 1991. Mercy Corps has also successfully provided lifesaving assistance to civilians in situations compounded by military action in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Mercy Corps recently joined with members of InterAction, the largest US alliance of international humanitarian and development nongovernmental organizations, in sending a letter to President Bush calling on him to work toward a diplomatic resolution to the situation within the context of the United Nations.
Laura Guimond 503-796-6827
Dan O'Neill 206-953-2212
George Devendorf, Nancy Lindborg 202-463-7383
Jane Salmonson, Cathy Ratcliff 44-131-477-3677
Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over $640 million in assistance to 74 nations. The agency's programs currently reach 5 million people in more than 30 countries, including the United States. For more information, see www.mercycorps.org.