ASIA/IRAQ - CARITAS ACTIVITY IN POST-WAR PERIOD: HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND SOCIAL PROMOTION FOR CHILDREN, THE SICK AND DISPLACED PERSONS
Baghdad (Fides Service) - In post war Iraq marked by instability and social problems, such as spreading drug addiction and an increase in the phenomenon of street children, Caritas is intensifying its activity.
The 14 centres of Caritas Iraq are resuming their work, including its Well Baby Programmes which at present assist about 8,500 new born babies and about 5,000 pregnant mothers mostly Muslims in 12 special centres.
Caritas has also resumed its water-purification programme with which it has supplied water to about 400,000 people. Now it plans to install three more water-purification units in three communities in southern Iraq.
Completely reactivated Caritas activities in the medical field, which allow it to guarantee health assistance and medicines for about 6,000 people, in collaboration with public health services and the Red Crescent Organisation. The Caritas network delivered a batch medicines to a children’s hospital in Saddam City and it has been asked by the Iraq Health Ministry to reorganise seven basic medical centres in Baghdad.
The humanitarian tragedy caused by the war continues to call for emergency interventions. Operating in 17 public and private centres Caritas distributes food and other prime necessities to families and vulnerable people (a total 2,300). Displaced persons also need assistance: in Baghdad Caritas has supplied medicines and clean water to a camp set up by the Red Crescent and the UNHCR for 285 families of Palestinians who were welcomed and assisted by Saddam Hussein but have been ousted from their homes in the post war situation.
In Kirkuk, north Iraq, 700 displaced Kurds have been given shelter in a sports stadium and they need everything, food, clothing, assistance instruction. Caritas organises elementary schooling for children and adults and provides basic medical care with a team of voluntary doctors and nurses who visit and treat the people inside the sports stadium. Elsewhere in northern Iraq Caritas works to rebuild homes at Biara and distributes drinking water with tankers to seven villages around Makhmoor.
Caritas Iraq works also across the borders. In Hassake and in Damascus in Syria they have opened offices to deal with the problems of hundreds of Iraqis in need of material aid, medical assistance, support in relations with UNHCR and other international bodies, schooling and in some cases even home visits. PA (Fides Service 11/7/2003 EM lines 36 Words: 443)
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