Caritas Iraq assists civilians in Najaf

 Caritas Iraq has sent the following report: The ongoing fighting in the city of Najaf has lead to severe consequences for the civilian population in general. The majority of people in the centre of town have left to the outskirts and nearby villages, and electricity and water supplies are completely cut off. Supplies of every kind are short due mto the security constraints on access and transport. This in the environment, in which hospitals and health centres are supposed to provide professional medical assistance and care to hundreds of wounded people. Similar problems exist in other areas, in particular in Al-Sadr City in Baghdad, which is also the centre of severe unrest. The need for relief assistance to the population is evident, and Caritas is involved in bringing supplies to the needy population. Our efforts are coordinated with UNAMI 'UN Assistance Mission in Iraq' who on their side coordinates with the Iraqi authorities, ICRC and NGO's. Caritas Iraq is not present in Najaf but cooperates closely with ICRS Iraqi Red Crescent Society and thereby benefits from its presence and established local network in Najaf and eastern Baghdad. Two trucks with 130 different types of emergency medical supplies and appliances for hospitals arrived to Najaf on 23rd August, and today two more trucks will depart with a shipment of 400 water containers and supplies of food items. The most vulnerable and needy will be identified by the local ICRS. The assistance is part of the continued program to assist the victims of explosions and fighting and is funded by the worldwide Caritas-network. Beside this, Caritas is negotiating with IRCS the possibility of expanding our ongoing supplementary food program 'the Well Baby Program' with a unit in Najaf, which can provide food supply and education for malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. On Monday evening, the National Iraqi TV in its prime time news program 20,00 PM covered this assistance under the headline Christian Iraqi's brings help to their brothers in Najaf. It described Caritas's role and showed pictures of our trucks arriving at a hospital in Najaf. Why is this also important ? Caritas Iraq considers it important, because it sends to a wide audience a signal of solidarity and concern across ethnic and religious boundaries, and thereby contributes to peaceful co-existence in Iraq in the future.

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