The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development - one of the few British aid agencies able to operate inside Iraq - is ready to help the thousands of civilians who may be injured in the current conflict. CAFOD works in Iraq through its partner Caritas Iraq, which has made emergency plans for its Well Baby clinics to operate as first aid centres. The 14 health centres are located throughout the country in and around Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk and Mosul. Over the last few months doctors, staff and volunteers at the centres have received training from doctors experienced in dealing with war injuries and the clinics have been equipped with medical supplies, food and ambulances. The training, equipment and supplies will allow Caritas Iraq to offer life-saving care to anyone caught up in the fighting. The moderately injured will be taken care of at the centres and then taken home while the severely wounded will be given life saving first aid to stabilise their condition before being transferred to hospital. CAFOD's Director, Mr. Julian Filochowski, said: "Now that war has begun, our main concern is for the protection and well being of Iraq's vulnerable, civilian population. There is a high potential for civilians to be trapped in cities throughout Iraq during this conflict and we have done everything we can to prepare to help them. We can only pray for a swift end to the hostilities as the longer they go more innocent people will suffer." Caritas Iraq has also made arrangements with local churches to provide emergency shelter for anyone made homeless by the war and has been stockpiling food and equipment at warehouses in Baghdad and in Amman in Jordan. All 14 health centres are connected to the mains water and sanitation system and the aid agency Oxfam who are specialists in this field have provided Caritas Iraq with emergency water storage tanks, mobile water containers, pumps and chemical toilets.
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