Has the ICRC been preparing for conflict in Iraq for a long time? If so, how?
The ICRC's mandate is to protect and assist people affected by conflict. Along with the rest of the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement, it has therefore been preparing to respond to the wide-ranging human needs that could arise.
The ICRC intends to keep working in Iraq and, if necessary, to expand its operations with the emphasis on ‘life-saving’ action. We will give priority to the needs of the sick and wounded, to people deprived of their freedom, and to the civilian population as a whole, in particular those who have fled their homes.
In recent months, the ICRC has built up its operational capacity in Iraq itself and in the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Kuwait and Iran, establishing stocks of emergency supplies and bringing in extra staff so as to be able to respond quickly to events.
Coordination with the other components of the Red Cross / Red Crescent Movement –the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the various National Societies themselves – is vital to timely, effective and efficient action.