Army provides $1.2 million for relief to Iraqis
The Salvation Army International Emergency Team has embarked upon a $1.2 million support program for families returning to Iraq.
International Emergency Services Coordinator, Major Cedric Hills, reports: “With daily media reporting clearly directed towards the security difficulties and political concern focused upon the uncertainties surrounding the handover of power at the end of June, the continuing humanitarian needs in Iraq often take a back seat.”
A report published recently includes information supplied by Iraq’s new Ministry of Displacement and Migration. The official figures are disturbing:
• 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers are expected to return to Iraq
• 290,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in central and southern Iraq and a greater number in the north
• Up to 150,000 IDPs may seek to move back to their communities in coming months
• Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Kurds and Arab Shiites, have been left stateless due to regulations passed by the ousted regime
• The ministry “openly admits it does not have the capacity to deal with the issues without the full support of the international community”
In order to help provide that much-needed support, The Salvation Army International Emergency Services team has begun a new program in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) this month. Concentrating on the Meysin Governorate, and particularly on the town of Al Amarah and surrounding villages, the eight-month support program will assist around 10,000 families.
Specifically, The Salvation Army will be responsible for:
• Providing shelter to 425 returning families, by providing 350 traditional (transitional) dwellings and extensions to 75 host family homes
• Providing safe, potable water to 5,000 families by rehabilitating water pumping stations
• Constructing or refurbishing five primary health clinics to serve 4,000 families
• Constructing or renovating 12 schools to provide education for 4,500 schoolchildren
• Constructing three youth/community centers and employing managers to develop community activity programs
• Providing vocational training through the establishment of 15 sewing workshops and three community training centers
• Supporting and promoting self-sustainability though an agriculture and livestock program
Captains Bruce and Pauline Coffey, New Zealand Salvation Army officers, and a British agriculture specialist, Hugh Pilcher, are providing leadership to the team out of The Salvation Army’s base in Kuwait. A 20-strong team of Iraqi engineers and project managers provide the local leadership. One important aspect of the program is the development and training of these local staff; building the capacity of Iraqi organizations to ensure the long-term development of the country.