Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Security risks in Iraq frustrating Caritas relief effort

As Catholic organisations gear up long-term relief operations in Iraq, they are being frustrated by rampant lawlessness and looting, an official of Caritas Internationalis has said.

"Unless the security issue is resolved, there will be no resumption of social life and it will be difficult to implement relief programs," said Karel Zalenka, head of the International Cooperation Department at Caritas headquarters at the Vatican.

Mr Zalenka had just returned from a five-day visit to Baghdad and other Iraqi cities with other officials of Caritas Internationalis, the confederation that includes national aid and development organisations such as Caritas Australia.

"Right now, Iraqi people are afraid to come to our centres, and our own workers fear being attacked," he said.

Mr Zalenka that while he found that damage from the war was not as heavy as predicted, destruction from looting was massive. The disintegration of civil security in Baghdad and other large cities is thwarting humanitarian efforts, he stressed.

Catholic News Service

Caritas Internationalis | Iraq Situation Reports
Catholic Relief Services - Iraq Emergency Effort
Papal envoy in Iraq to support aid effort (29/5/03)

30 May 2003