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Third 'All Our Children' Shipment Crosses Into Iraq,
NCC, CWS Support Campaign for Iraqi Child Health

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U.S. Church Support Critical in “All Our Children” Effort, Coordinator Says
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April 12, 2003, AMMAN, JORDAN -- A third "All Our Children" shipment of medical components to assist Iraqi children crossed the Jordanian border into Iraq Friday morning (April 11).

Church World Service, the National Council of Churches and their partners in the "All Our Children" initiative provided $50,000 for this shipment, which includes 32 wheelchairs, 600 blankets and 800 bedding kits - a total of three tons of supplies.

Bound for pediatric hospitals in Iraq, the shipment is in one of three trucks that are part of a convoy of goods to be distributed in Baghdad by the non-governmental French humanitarian organization Première Urgence.

From Amman, Church World Service International Disaster Response Consultant Steve Weaver, coordinator of the "All Our Children" initiative, is monitoring the shipment’s progress.

The "All Our Children" campaign is a $1 million, multi-agency effort to meet health needs of Iraqi children. Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter have endorsed the campaign, which was launched in December 2002.

A first "All Our Children" shipment of medicine and medical supplies reached Baghdad just before the war started and has been distributed to two pediatric hospitals. A shipment of 5.5 metric tons of personal hygiene soap - enough for 14,688 Iraqi children for six months -- and 5.8 metric tons of laundry detergent arrived March 31 and will be distributed to 68 pediatric and district hospitals throughout southern and central Iraq, as access allows.

To date, the campaign has contributed $188,801 for the three humanitarian aid shipments.

The campaign continues the long-term commitment of CWS to assist with ongoing humanitarian needs in Iraq, regardless of the war's outcome. Church World Service has provided more than $3.8 million since 1991 for humanitarian assistance in Iraq.

Over and above the support it raises for the "All Our Children" campaign, Church World Service also is seeking to raise $1.5 million for humanitarian response for Iraq, being carried out in partnership with the Middle East Council of Churches.

The humanitarian situation in Iraq remains critical, with a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) killed and the ICRC temporarily suspending its humanitarian operations in Baghdad for 24 hours earlier this week because the situation in the city was "chaotic and unpredictable," according the United Nations Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI). ICRC has since resumed operations in Baghdad.

Looting of hospitals, government buildings, and UN premises continues in Baghdad, Basra and Zubair, the UNOHCI reports.

"ICRC's decision to temporarily suspend operations in Baghdad signals a serious of lack of security," said CWS Emergency Response Program (ERP) Director Rick Augsburger. "ICRC is usually the last one to suspend operations."

Communication is also problematic, with the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), a CWS partner, unable to communicate with its local partners in northern Iraq.

Border movement between Jordan and Iraq has begun, though it remains intermittent, Augsburger said. "We are looking for consistent border passage for humanitarian goods and personnel."

Among NGOS, there is a clear recognition that "security may be a problem for a long time, as in Afghanistan," Augsburger said.

Church World Service is a global humanitarian agency of the NCC’s 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member churches, comprising 50 million U.S. Christians.

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Donations for Iraq-related humanitarian aid:
Church World Service Iraq Humanitarian Response, Post Office Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515;
phone number: (800) 297-1516; website: www.churchworldservice.org


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