Several religious organizations--including Church World Service (CWS), the relief and development arm of the National Council of Churches--have joined a campaign to raise $1 million to address critical health care needs of Iraqi children.
Funds raised by the "All Our Children" campaign will purchase desperately needed items such as antibiotics, anesthesia, intravenous kits and devices to monitor clean drinking water. The United Nations attributes the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children to a complex web of internal and external forces, especially the trade sanctions imposed in 1990.
"It is a crisis of tragic proportions to which compassionate people of faith in the United States must respond," according to the appeal. "At a time of great anxiety about another war in Iraq, this effort by people in the USA will be a tangible demonstration of our love for children, a love shared by all humanity." The plan is to distribute the supplies to pediatric hospitals under the supervision of international relief organizations.
Many of those organizations have been providing relief for more than a decade. CWS, for example, has already provided more than $3 million in blankets, food, medical supplies and other aid for children and their families since 1991. The Mennonite Central Committee has shipped about $4.2 million worth of food and material assistance and supports a number of agricultural, educational and health-related developmental relief projects. CWS is cooperating with the Mennonite Central Committee to raise funds for more supplies and school kits that it shipped earlier to Jordan.