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New Canaan, CT, March 25 2003 – AmeriCares, the humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization, sends a team of experienced field workers to Turkey today to oversee the distribution of 25,750 pounds of medicine and humanitarian supplies as part of the mobilization of relief for Iraqi refugees.
Turkish Airlines is providing cargo space for the shipments from New York for distribution by the Turkish Ministry of Health and the Red Crescent Society in southeastern Turkey.
Medicines, medical supplies, nutritional supplements and blankets are to be supplemented by the first of several New Emergency Health Kits to be sent to the region this weekend. The kits, devised by public health specialists for displaced populations, each contain sufficient basic medical supplies to treat 10,000 people for three months.
Total value of the aid exceeds $1 million.
Two AmeriCares personnel, Ken Baker of Norwalk, CT and Celina de Sola of Miami, FL are overseeing this initial distribution. They follow a humanitarian assessment team that was in Turkey a month ago to prepare for what is now a significant flow of refugees arising from the hostilities. Other AmeriCares staff members are to follow.
AmeriCares also continues to prepare for a possible refugee exodus into other bordering countries such as Jordan and Iran. An emergency aid shipment is currently being readied for our partner, American Near East Refugee Aid, in Jordan should a refugee crisis occur there.
An AmeriCares Iraq Refugee Fund has been established to direct assistance to the region. Donations, tax deductible to the extent permitted by law, can be made via e-mail at www.americares.org or by calling 1 800 486-HELP.
AmeriCares aided Iraqi refugees during the 1991 Gulf War. At that time, AmeriCares set up a relief camp at Bukan in northern Iran, 60 miles from the Iraqi border, with a field hospital and volunteer medical staff treating up to 3,000 patients a day, most of them children under the age of six.
Since it was established in 1982, AmeriCares has delivered more than $2.9 billion in humanitarian aid to 137 countries including the U.S.