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Related Categories: Iraq | International
Red Crescent Says Falluja a 'big disaster,' aid needed
by sources
Friday Nov 12th, 2004 5:31 PM
Aid agencies called on US forces and the Iraqi government to allow them to deliver food, medicine and water to Falluja yesterday and said four days of intense fighting had turned the city into a "big disaster."

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which receives support from foreign agencies including the Red Cross and Unicef, said it had asked US forces and Iraq's interim government to let them deliver relief goods to Falluja and establish medics there.

But it said it had received no reply.
red_crescent_falluja.jpg
"We call on the Iraqi government and US forces to allow us to do our humanitarian duty to the innocent people," said Firdoos al-Ubadi, Red Crescent spokeswoman.

"This is their responsibility," she said, adding that judging by reports received from refugees and pictures broadcast on television, Falluja was a "big disaster."

A US military spokesman said the Red Crescent had permission to help refugees in towns around Falluja, but could not say if it had been granted access to the city itself.

The Red Crescent has seven teams of doctors and relief workers, backed by trucks of food and other aid ready to go into each of Falluja's districts when the word is given.

About 10,000 US soldiers and Marines, backed by heavy artillery and war planes, surged into Falluja from several directions on Monday night, launching an offensive on rebels.

The US military estimates that 600 militants have been killed in four days of street fighting.

Scores of buildings in Falluja have been completely destroyed, with TV footage showing some districts all but leveled. There has been no water and electricity for days and food shops have been closed, residents say. The stench of dead bodies is hanging over some areas of the city, the say.

US commanders say civilian casualties have been low, but residents dispute that, describing incidents in which non-combatants, including women and children, have been killed by shrapnel or hit by bombs.

In one case earlier this week, a 9-year-old boy died after being hit in the stomach by shrapnel. Unable to reach a hospital, he died hours later of blood loss.

"Anyone who gets injured is likely to die because there's no medicine and they can't get to doctors," said Abdul-Hameed Salim, a volunteer with the Iraqi Red Crescent.

http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/11/13/d41113130378.htm

Fallujah situation 'disastrous', charity says
By Kim Sengupta in Camp Dogwood, Iraq

13 November 2004

Civilians trapped in Fallujah face a humanitarian disaster unless Iraqi and American authorities allow food, water and medicine into the besieged city, aid agencies warned last night.

Fardous al-Ubaidi, head of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, said her organisation had asked permission from the Iraqi government to deliver aid supplies to people in the city but the request was turned down.

"There is no water, no food, no medicine, no electricity and no fuel and when we asked for permission, we were only allowed to approach the Fallujah outskirts but had no access to Fallujah itself," Ms al-Ubaidi said. A convoy of three ambulances and one truck carrying food accompanied by 15 volunteers will make the first attempt to enter the city today, she added.

Ahmed al-Rawi, of the Red Cross, said: "Movement is impossible inside the city. The residents fear the snipers and therefore the wounded find no help and bleed to death." On the eve of the assault, the interim Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, imposed a 24-hour curfew on Fallujah and ordered roads in the area closed.

Read More
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=582476

Aid agencies have called on US forces to allow them to deliver food, medicine and water to Falluja's besieged citizens, calling the situation in the city a "big disaster".

The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, which receives support from foreign agencies including the Red Cross and UNICEF, said on Friday it had asked US forces and Iraq's interim government to let them deliver relief goods to Falluja and establish medical centres there.

But it said it had received no reply.

"We call on the Iraqi government and US forces to allow us to do our humanitarian duty to the innocent people," said Firdus al-Ubadi, Red Crescent spokeswoman.

"This is their responsibility," she said, adding that judging by reports received from refugees and pictures broadcast on television, Falluja was a "big disaster".

Civilian accounts

Luai Mansur Abd al-Karim, a Falluja resident who fled his home to a nearby suburb, told Aljazeera about the plight facing citizens of Falluja.

"The majority of them have stayed in the streets, in the open air," he said. "They have no food, no shelter. Life necessities are very little."

"Humanitarian organisations cannot reach these families as all roads leading to the city and its suburbs are closed," Abd al-Karim said. "Anyone who walks in the streets exposes his life to danger and his vehicle to being bombed."

"US forces have cordoned off the city and all its suburbs. They are conducting group killings and eliminations in Falluja and its suburbs. These families cannot go any where," he added.

A US military spokesman said the Red Crescent had permission to help refugees in towns around Falluja, but could not say if it had granted access to the city itself.

Awaiting go-ahead

The Red Crescent has seven teams of doctors and relief workers, backed by trucks of food and other aid ready to go into each of Falluja's districts when the word is given.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday it was seriously worried about the plight of civilians caught up in the Falluja fighting.

"According to the information we have received some civilians are still trapped in Falluja," ICRC spokeswoman Rana Sidani said. "We are very worried about their fate."

The Iraqi Red Crescent is currently providing help to about 40,000 of the city's inhabitants who have fled the fighting, the ICRC said.

In Falluja, "because of the fighting and the absence of medical staff, two medical centres which are not in the part of the city occupied by allied [US-led] forces are no longer functioning," she said.

Combatants' responsibility

"All those taking part in the combat have a responsibility to spare civilians and give access to the wounded," Sidani said.

About 10,000 US soldiers and marines, backed by heavy artillery and war planes, surged into Falluja on Monday night, launching an attack against resistance fighters.

Scores of buildings in Falluja have been completely destroyed, with TV footage showing some districts all but levelled. There has been no water and electricity for days and food shops have been closed. The stench of dead bodies is hanging over some areas of the city, say residents.

In one case earlier this week, a nine-year-old boy died after being hit in the stomach by shrapnel. Unable to reach a hospital, he died hours later of blood loss.

'No medicine, doctors'

"Anyone who gets injured is likely to die because there's no medicine and they can't get to doctors," said Abd al-Hamid Salim, a volunteer with the Iraqi Red Crescent. "There are snipers everywhere. Go outside and you're going to get shot."

Rasul Ibrahim, a father of three, fled Falluja on Thursday morning and arrived with his wife and children in Habbaniya, about 20km to the west, on Thursday night.

He said families left in the city were in desperate need.

"There's no water. People are drinking dirty water. Children are dying. People are eating flour because there's no proper food," he told aid workers in Habbaniya, which has become a refugee camp, with around 2,000 families sheltering there.

Ubadi said many families taking refuge in Habbaniya and other villages nearby were suffering from diarrhoea and malnutrition and needed medicine as well as basic necessities such as lentils, sugar, bread, tea and candles.
Aljazeera + Agencies

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3446138E-B943-48E8-A083-10C6F5EDD5CA.htm

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by Fears grow for Falluja civilians
Friday Nov 12th, 2004 6:03 PM
Aid agencies say they are increasingly concerned about Iraqi civilians trapped in the besieged rebel city of Falluja.

Relief workers say no drinking water or electricity is available and food is short after days of street battles between US-led forces and insurgents.

Fighters are holding out against the US-led assault on the rebel stronghold for the fifth night running.

But US commanders say they now control 80% of the city and they expect major combat operations to be over soon.

Correspondents embedded with US forces say the marines continue to come under fire in central and some northern districts.

Read More
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4008619.stm
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