Some assistance getting into Iraq

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January 30, 2007 Some assistance getting into Iraq

The Tennessean - by COLLEEN ZAKREWSKY

As the largest humanitarian organization in the world, the impact of the Red Cross can be felt in nearly every country. The 140-year-old International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement consists of 185 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

While your Nashville Area Red Cross is providing food, shelter and counseling in time of disaster, the same basic needs exist around the world. Families in Iraq and elsewhere are receiving similar types of aid.

Since March 2003, the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has distributed approximately 46 truckloads of medicine, food and water every month. Those displaced often lack shelter, food, access to clean water and sanitation, cooking facilities, fuel and household items.

With shootings, car bombings and abductions now commonplace occurrences, the Iraqi people need the Red Cross and the Red Crescent more than ever.

This lack of security makes it infinitely difficult to provide essential services such as medical care, electricity and clean water. For instance, in 2003, 30 Iraqi children and another 215 people were wounded in a Red Crescent hospital bombing. Two truckloads of relief aid and five trucks were captured by combatants. On Dec. 17, 2006, several Iraqi Red Crescent Society staff and volunteers were abducted from the Society's offices in Baghdad.

Heroism happens daily

Despite these unsettling events, the heroic efforts of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent continue to happen on a daily basis both in Iraq and in your own community.

The efforts overseas affect us here at home, impacting lives in our community, as Nashville has the largest Kurdish population in the United States. Approximately 7,000 Kurds live in and around Nashville. The Nashville Area Red Cross participates in the Red Cross International Tracing Program to enable families who have been separated by war or disaster to reconnect.

Last year alone, because of the generous donations by people just like you, the American Red Cross contributed $169,000 for humanitarian efforts in Iraq and $50,000 for the care and support of children in Iraq.

You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need.

Call 1-800-REDCROSS, visit  www.redcross.org , or contact your local chapter. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you would like to help people affected by these crises, please designate your gift at the time of your donation.

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