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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

IRAQ: Red Crescent Society makes plans for Fallujah camp

BAGHDAD, 15 April 2004 (IRIN) - The Iraqi Red Crescent Society on Wednesday started setting up a camp for families displaced by fighting in the city of Fallujah, some 50 km northwest of Baghdad, a spokesman for the aid agency said.

Volunteers had plans to set up 150 tents to house 500 families in the district of Al-Anamiyah, about 10 km outside of Fallujah, said Mohammed Ibrahim, assistant to the general secretary of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, adding that the camp could be expanded should the need arise.

Ibrahim said that he was still in the process of obtaining permission from US-led troops to set up the camp. However, a coalition spokesman said he had no information about such negotiations.

On Tuesday a family at a hospital said houses in the neighbourhood were destroyed by the fighting, which has raged for more than a week between US Marines and Iraqi resistance fighters, leaving an estimated 500 dead.

"In one rural house, we found 20 families, so we found a crowd of people who are agreeing to go to the camp," Ibrahim told IRIN in Baghdad. "Families agree to host someone else for four or five days, but now they don't know how long this will continue."

Ibrahim said the first field he chose as a good location for a temporary camp, was later caught up in the conflict, while a local sheikh gave approval to use another empty field temporarily. International aid agencies have volunteered to help with water and sanitation at the camp, he added.

Already, an estimated 500 families are staying with host families and relatives in the mainly Sunni Muslim Al-Adamiyah district in west Baghdad.

Fallujah is part of a Sunni area known as being loyal to former president Saddam Hussein. Those still in the city have told news agencies that one-third of the estimated 200,000 population had fled, a number that's hard to verify.

The UN has delivered more than a ton of medical assistance to areas around Fallujah. Over the past three days, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has handed over some 3,500 blankets, 1,200 mattresses, five emergency health kits (benefiting over 50,000 people), 500 stoves and 500 plastic sheets to cater for displaced people from Fallujah in Baghdad.

The goods are being delivered by NGOs partners such as Intersos, Première Urgence and Islamic Relief among others.

A Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) worker said the aid agency planned to bring a mobile clinic and a dispensary with a doctor and two or three nurses to the camp, "as soon as it is possible." Enfants du Monde, a France-based NGO, also plans to help and the International Committee of the Red Cross announced it had sent one ton of medical aid to hospitals and clinics treating injured people in Fallujah.

In addition, the Iraq Islamic Party has coordinated aid from people at mosques in Baghdad and around the country, according to people in Fallujah. At least 350 families, or more than 1,000 people were staying with relatives or neighbours in one part of Baghdad. Another estimated 100 families were in another part of town, according to the UK-based Islamic Relief NGO.



Themes: (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Human Rights




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