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March 20, 2003
 
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Red Cross Appeals for $158 Million for Iraq

Reuters


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GENEVA (Reuters) - The Red Cross appealed for 219 million Swiss francs ($158 million) on Thursday to provide food, medical care and clean water to Iraqi civilians because of the U.S.-led war.

Hours after U.S. air strikes on Baghdad began, twin appeals were launched by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and its sister organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"The money will be used to save lives and otherwise assist and protect people affected by the war," the Swiss-based ICRC said in a statement calling for 108 million Swiss francs ($78 million) for the next four months.

The federation, the world's largest relief network, is seeking 111 million Swiss francs ($80 million) for its member societies in Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey to finance operations until year-end.

The ICRC said it would focus on treatment of war-wounded, prevention of epidemics, emergency repairs to water and sewage systems and providing the most needed relief goods to internally displaced persons.

The ICRC said in its statement it had already prepositioned medical supplies to cover basic health needs of about 180,000 persons and provide hospitals with surgical materials to treat up to 7,000 war-wounded.

It said the ICRC could provide food and other items for up to 150,000 people displaced inside Iraq during the first month of the emergency and quickly mobilize supplies needed to assist up to 500,000 people for a longer period."

In the separate federation appeal, federation president Juan Manuel Suarez del Toro said: "Millions of Iraqis are living precariously as a result of 12 years of sanctions, especially the children, too young and too frail to resist more deprivation.

"We call upon the international community to help us bring vital help to those who need it most," he said.

The Geneva-based federation said its appeal would help at least 305,000 people who may be forced to flee the conflict.

($1=1.384 Swiss Franc)

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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