Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Yes, you can help

In response to an inquiry, I have determined that it is possible to support humanitarian relief in Iraq by making a donation to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, and earmarking your donation for Iraq humanitarian relief. The web site is here. You can direct your donation to Iraq by selecting Iraq humanitarian relief from the list box next to "I would like my donation to go to:" (I believe that if you make a donation to the International Federation, it is not tax deductible. Whether the American Red Cross makes it possible to earmark money for Iraq I do not know, but I suspect that if you do so, they will just subtract the earmark from whatever they were going to send anyway. That's how they operate.)

However, the Iraqi Red Crescent is having great difficulty operating in the war zone. Our friend Whisker sent me this story.

BAGHDAD, 22 March (IRIN) - Aid agencies say thay have been prevented from entering the city of Samarra, in central Iraq, where a major US and Iraqi military operation is underway.

"Our convoys sent on Sunday and Monday have been prevented from entering the city by US troops and our information from inside is that families are without food, power and potable water, particularly because they cannot leave their homes," noted Abdel Hameed, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS). This, they say, has left hundreds of families without medical assistance and food supplies.

"Innocent people and especially children are suffering from a lack of supplies in and on the outskirts of Samarra," said Muhammad al-Daraji, Director of the Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI). "US and Iraqi military groups have prevented the entrance of local NGOs as well as the media to show the reality of human rights violation inside it," he added.

According to al-Daraji, no citizens have been allowed to leave the city, some 120 km north of the capital, Baghdad, since the operation began on 16 March. US forces along with Iraqi commandos say the operation is necessary to flush out insurgents in the area.

So you can help them buy the supplies, but whether the supplies reach the people in need is up to General Casey.

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