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Iraq: ICRC continues to assist victims of violence

23-04-2004 Operational Update

Throughout April the ICRC has been providing emergency assistance for people affected by the escalation of violence that has struck several cities, including Basra, Falluja and Najaf. Working with the Iraqi Red Crescent, ICRC staff have distributed medical supplies, water and other relief.

During the third week in April more than 18 tonnes of medical and surgical supplies were sent from Jordan to Baghdad aboard ICRC aircraft, for distribution throughout the country according to need.

 Basra: the ICRC distributed 1.5 tonnes of medical and surgical supplies and equipment to four hospitals in Basra on 21 April following the attacks in the city that caused many deaths and injuries. The ICRC had equipped the al Jumhouri and al Tahrir hospitals in Basra with three water bladders (flexible reservoirs) each holding 15,000 litres.

 Falluja: ICRC first managed to get emergency supplies to Falluja on 7 April. It returned the following day with the Iraqi Red Crescent, delivering more relief items to clinics and various distribution centres.

 Other locations: 1.5 tonnes of medical and surgical supplies have been distributed to the Najaf health directorate, while intravenous fluids and dressings have been given to the Nasiriya health department. The ICRC has also supplied the al Rasafa health directorate with emergency medical supplies, including dressing packs for burns.

 Baghdad: Thousands of people have fled Falluja over the past two weeks to seek shelter in Baghdad; the ICRC supplied them with drinking water as well as nearly 2,000 blankets, 1,500 food parcels, 650 hygiene kits and 100 cooking st oves. The aid was distributed in various areas of Baghdad and its suburbs, in cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent and a number of mosques.

On 18 April the ICRC also provided emergency medical supplies to the al Salam hospital in the Bu-Ghraib area in cooperation with the Muslim Ulema organization. On the same day, the ICRC repaired the sewage system of the Bu-Ghraib hospital.

Drinking water – around 500 cubic metres – is trucked to al Sadr City each day and distributed in the various neighbourhoods.

At Karbala , during the three-day celebration of the al Arba'in festival, the ICRC provided drinking water through 14 tankers placed at the two entry points to the city.

While the ICRC's main concern at this point in time is the situation of the civilian population and the protection of their lives and the possibility of reaching medical facilities in case of injury, the ICRC reminds the warring factions that it is absolutely prohibited to prevent the sick and wounded from reaching hospitals and medical centres for treatment, whether civilian, military or combatants. See press release .