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Caritas Australia joins relief effort of international network


Caritas Australia is supporting local partner, Caritas Iraq, to prepare to help the thousands of Iraqi civilians in the strike targeting Iraq.

The Caritas Internationalis network is actively preparing to help the thousands of Iraqi civilians who may be caught up in a strike on Iraq. The preparations build on the continued work Caritas Internationalis has already carried out in the region.

To cope with an emergency situation Caritas Iraq is setting up clinics to operate as first aid centres in the event of bombing. Caritas Iraq with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and the Iraq Red Cross have equipped 40 medical centres with needed medical equipment and is training 42 doctors and 220 volunteers in emergency medical response.

"Caritas medical centres will be responsible for taking in war casualties for first aid and for forwarding severe cases to the nearest hospital," said Caritas Australia National Director Jack de Groot.

Caritas Iraq has taken measures to ensure water supplies by digging surface wells in the Caritas Centres and in the Churches, being prepared as emergency shelters.

An emergency shelter program for refugees and displaced people in 87 church buildings has been arranged by Caritas Iraq. These may eventually be utilised as sanctuary places for around 45,000 civilians or an average of 75 families per church.

It is likely that hundreds of thousands of refugees will head for neighbouring countries, most of which have indicated they are not willing to take in refugees. The Caritas network is making preparations at the borders of Iraq to provide food, shelter and first aid assistance for these people.

Current estimates suggest that up to 900,000 people will head for the Iranian border; 80,000 to the Turkish border; and 20,000 to borders with Jordan and Syria.

Caritas Lebanon Turkey, Caritas Syria, Caritas Jordan and Caritas in Iran have all received support from the Caritas international network to prepare for the expected flows of displaced persons.

Caritas centres are being set up at some points where an influx of refugees is expected. In its preparation the Caritas network is working closely with local church and humanitarian organisations to prepare to provide medical, food and shelter relief.

SOURCE
Caritas Australia

LINKS
Caritas Australia
Caritas Internationalis
Caritas Photos from Iraq
Caritas Australia Policy Statement on the current situation of Iraq
Caritas says Iraqi children the most vulnerable (19/3/03)
"Step back from the brink of war" says one of the world's largest humanitarian networks (media release 13/3/03)



21 Mar 2003