Iraq: fears grow for safety of aid workers

 CAFOD's partners in Baghdad say that security problems in the city are growing daily and they will be forced to reconsider their position in the light of yesterday's bombing of the UN building. CAFOD is part of Caritas International the worldwide network of Catholic agencies. It is working in Baghdad through Caritas Iraq. Hanno Schaefer, the Caritas International representative in Baghdad, said: "I am very worried about the deteriorating security situation. At the NGO co-ordination meetings I've been at over the last couple of days there have been several reports of NGOs being robbed or shot at or having stones thrown at them. Security is definitely more of a problem here now than ever before. "I have visited the UN compound on several occasions and cannot understand how a bomber could have got through the tight security. It is significant that they aimed at the UN Headquarters because in the eyes of the terrorists that is the most significant NGO - so they've started right at the top. I can well imagine that NGOs are thinking of leaving the country." CAFOD says that the growing level of insecurity and the increasing number of attacks on NGOs and now the UN will have serious consequences for the long term re-building and development of the Iraq. It believes that it is imperative that the Coalition forces do everything they can to restore security and stability in the city. Caritas Iraq has been operational since 1992. They are currently working on the rehabilitation of seven primary health care centres in Baghdad and distributing medical supplies to hospitals in the city.

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