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The Iraqi Red crescent


The Iraqi Red crescent

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									                 The Iraqi Red crescent
                                                                                                                               by Jamal Al-Karboli

                 The Iraqi Red crescent society (IRcs) is among the                                             services. We have a staff of 3,200
                                                                                                                and 100,000 volunteers – 10,000 of
                 few organisations working to assist displaced persons                                          whom are active. The society owns
                 throughout Iraq.                                                                               four hospitals – including maternity,
                                                                                                                surgery and children’s hospitals in
                 The IRCS is an independent national     discrimination on grounds of religion,                 Baghdad – with a total of 300 beds
                 humanitarian society. One of the        denomination or political belief.                      and runs an artificial limb centre
                 oldest Red Crescent societies in the                                                           in Mosul and two centres for the
                 region, it was founded in 1932 and      The IRCS has 15 administrative,                        rehabilitation of war casualties in
                 recognised by the International         financial or operational divisions                     Basra. Storage facilities are available
                 Federation in 1934. We uphold           and branches in each of Iraq’s 18                      in all governorates and we have three
                 international humanitarian principles   governorates. There are 135 branch                     large strategic warehouses. The IRCS
                 of neutrality, impartiality and non-    offices offering humanitarian                          works in close cooperation with the
                                                                                                                International Federation of Red Cross
 Family from                                                                                                    and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
   Fallujah at                                                                                                  and with UN agencies, especially
 Al-Khadraa’                                                                                                    WHO, UNICEF and UNHCR.
persons camp
  (established                                                                                                  Our activities, like those of other
        by the                                                                                                  National Societies, are, of course, not
     Iraqi Red                                                                                                  confined to responding to wars or
                                                                                                                natural disasters. At times of peace we
                                                                                                                focus on such activities as attracting
                                                                                                                young volunteers, youth camps, first
                                                                                                                aid training, seminars to increase
                                                                                                                awareness of how to reduce road
                                                                                                                accidents, vaccination campaigns,
                                                                                                                blood donations, water and sanitation
                                                                                                                and provision of medical supplies
                                                                                                                and services in remote areas of Iraq.

                                                                                                                 Sadly, as a result of the tragic
                                                                                                                circumstances in Iraq, most of our
                                                                                           CICR/AL-RAWI Ahmad

                                                                                                                activities, attention and resources are
                                                                                                                today directed towards emergency
                                                                                                                response to the needs of Iraqis at
                                                                                                                home or in neighbouring countries.
                                                                                   FMR IRAQ specIAl Issue                   

Among the activities we undertake         n food assistance packages: with         and terrorists. Our aid convoys have
are:                                        support from the International         been attacked on 30 occasions and
                                            Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)      13 Red Crescent facilities have been
n evacuation and rescue services            and the Red Crescent Societies of      attacked – and damaged or destroyed
  and first aid to victims of               Kuwait, Iran and the United Arab       – by occupation forces. We have
  violence and explosions                   Emirates we have distributed food      problems with some Iraqi insurgents,
                                            to over 700,000 vulnerable families.   but in general most of them respect
n establishing emergency camps                                                     our work and understand our role.
  for those displaced by conflict or      n provision of drinking water            We face far greater problems with
  whose houses have been destroyed          to displaced people                    the American forces as they, often
  and providing them with food                                                     aggressively, search our premises
  parcels, hygiene kits, blankets,        n liaison between families and           and damage our facilities. We have
  kitchen sets and jerrycans                the estimated 18,000 prisoners         to spend much time explaining about
                                            currently being held by the            the Red Crescent. Many US soldiers
n organising blood donation                 occupation forces and the roughly      fail to realise that we are recognised
  campaigns to support                      34,000 detained by the Iraqi           members of the international
  acute-care hospitals                      authorities: we have facilitated       humanitarian movement, despite
                                            exchanges of tens of thousand          the fact we use the Muslim Red
n exhuming and identifying bodies           of letters and arranged phone          Crescent symbol. In spite of these
  discovered in mass graves                 calls, thus reassuring relatives       difficult circumstances, however, the
                                            – in Iraq and abroad – that their      Iraqi Red Crescent Society remains
n providing artificial limbs,               loved ones were alive and well.        committed to assisting our fellow
  wheelchairs and other equipment                                                  Iraqis to the best of our abilities.
  for victims of conflict                 Red Crescent workers and volunteers
                                          have paid a high price as they           Dr Jamal N Al-Karboli is the
n provision of emergency first            carry out their duties. They have        vice-president of the Iraqi Red
  aid kits, blood bags, body bags,        been exposed to death, injury,           Crescent Society. For information
  blankets, bed sheets, and stretchers,   kidnapping and imprisonment at           about the work of IRCS, email:
  painkillers and anaesthetics            the hands of armed men, militias         ircs_amman_office@yahoo.com

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