Caritas-Iraq Is Fully Operational

Provides 14 Centers in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Mosul

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- As the coalition forces advance into Iraq, Caritas is providing humanitarian aid in 14 centers throughout Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk and Mosul.



The centers are fully equipped with stocks of basic provisions to last for several weeks: crackers of high vitamin content, powdered milk, water-purifying equipment and electric and combustible generators, Caritas sources told ZENIT.

Caritas personnel in Iraq reported that in the Baghdad area people are leaving their homes and seeking shelter in churches and schools.

Caritas-Iraq, which anticipated the population's movements, has stocked Catholic churches throughout the country with basic necessities, to provide Iraqi citizens with a measure of security in anticipation of the bombing.

Caritas-Jordan, which at present is the only Jordanian NGO offering humanitarian aid to the 300,000 Iraqi refugees already in the country, is preparing to receive new waves of refugees.

Caritas-Jordan is managing six medical centers, three of them in Amman, the capital, and several schools currently attended by some 400 children.

Anticipating an increase in refugees, Caritas-Jordan has requested that the Catholic Church offer its churches as temporary shelters for people displaced by the war.

Personnel of Caritas-Syria have confirmed an early stream of refugees from Iraq, but in Turkey, Caritas had been unable to confirm the progress of the humanitarian situation since the Turkish government has denied all NGOs access to regions bordering on Iraq.