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Monday, December 5, 2016
Caritas hopes for peace - while preparing for the unthinkable
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¬†Caritas Europa issued the following statement today: Caritas Europa joins the appeal of Caritas Internationalis and calls for a peaceful outcome of the Iraqi crisis. Caritas appeals to world leaders and decision makers to take all possible steps to actively promote a political solution and reaffirms its support for all persons and groups who are engaged in the building of peace, and in the promoting of justice and reconciliation. The Caritas network has never ceased appealing to the international community to suspend sanctions and end the economic blockade. A delegation of Caritas Internationalis including members of Caritas Europa, visited Iraq from 21 to 26 October 2002 and saw first hand how the sanctions imposed on Iraq are ineffective and dangerous for the Iraqi civilian population. Caritas has first hand experience of working for more than ten years shoulder to shoulder with Caritas Iraq with the poorest and most vulnerable of the Iraqi people. In 2001, more than 20,000 children and mothers benefited from the 'Well Baby Program' carried out by Caritas Iraq. Ninety-five percent of the children came out stronger and healthier. Caritas maintains a range of water treatment and desalinisation plants in Iraq. The better the water quality, the less likely people are to fall prey to disease and infection. Caritas Europa joins Pope John Paul II in his message: "No to warWar cannot be decided upon, except as the very last option without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population". Therefore, all peaceful avenues to resolve the current crisis must be explored, re≠ explored and explored again, rather than rush in to a war that, in the end, will be a catastrophe for the Iraqi people as well as a shame on the world community. However, with the threat of war imminent, Caritas in Iraq and throughout the world continues to prepare for the humanitarian disaster that will result from an attack on Iraq. Caritas Iraq has established an agreement of collaboration with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) for training of medical staff. It has a contingency plan with centres as first-aid points for war victims and as referral stations to nearby hospitals. Each centre will be equipped with the necessary electrical, water supply, civil defence and water purification materials, as well as with emergency beds and emergency medical equipment. This emergency preparedness programme has been financed by the Caritas Network and thanks to their work experience and the training received Caritas staff in Iraq are qualified and motivated to carry it out.
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