Oxfam prepares for the worst in Iraq

News and Press Release
Originally published
"I saw what the air strikes did in 1991. In the town of Samawah, knocking out the power to pump the main sewers meant that sewage was spilling out on the surface to form large pools. People were fleeing the stench and danger of disease."
Paul Sherlock
Oxfam remains convinced that military action on Iraq is unjustifiable. The Iraqi people are already in a highly vulnerable situation. With Iraq's basic infrastructures eroded by decades of war, national mismanagement and twelve years of sanctions, another war in Iraq will have devastating humanitarian consequences for the civilian population.

However, if a war goes ahead, Oxfam must be prepared for all humanitarian consequences. We are already working with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Syria, Jordan and Iran to ensure the adequate provision of clean water to all refugees.

We have also run workshops in Syria and Jordan, which provided training on public health, water storage and purification and water tank installation. The workshops also gave an introduction into the Humanitarian Charter and minimum standards for humanitarian response.

Paul Sherlock, our Senior Humanitarian Representative, is working with UNICEF to lead the humanitarian response in providing water and sanitation to people displaced as a result of a war in Iraq.

In addition we will also be supplying UNHCR and UNICEF with water and sanitation kits for potential use in the region. The kits will contain emergency water pumps and storage tanks. If necessary this equipment could be transported into Iraq to help people displaced by conflict within the country.

In Iran, we are working with the government to assist refugees currently in the country and building the capacity of Iranian organisation to respond, should new refugees arrive.