Red Cross needs your help to give aid in Iraq

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

While the war rages on in Iraq, American civilians can offer a helping hand to assist our American military personnel. Not only would a donation to the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross help if disaster should strike here, but also contributions to the Red Cross can aid others in wartime.

Faye Byrum, executive director of the Suffolk Chapter Red Cross, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, Switzerland has appealed for donations so that it can provide food, medical care, and clean water to Iraqi civilians caught up in the war.

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&uot;Those funds would be used to save lives and otherwise assist and protect people affected by the war,&uot; said Byrum. &uot;The role of the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services has always been to assist with medical supplies and treatment for the injured.&uot;

While the Red Cross assists our military, they also have another role in helping with &uot;collateral damage.&uot;

The Red Cross has already provided Iraq with medical supplies to help cover the basic needs of about 180,000 people, as well as surgical supplies for hospitals to treat up to 7,000 wounded people.

According to the ICRC, it can provide food and other necessities for up to 150,000 people displaced inside Iraq during the first month, but it’s anticipated that up to a half-million people will need assistance.

Meanwhile, local chapters of the American Red Cross are assisting soldiers in the Persian Gulf by distributing comfort kits and goodie bags that contain personal hygiene items, drink mixes, paperback novels, sunscreen, and Chap Stick.

Today’s American Red Cross is keeping pace with the changing military. Using the latest in computer and telecommunications technology, the Red Cross allows military members stationed all over the world to send messages to loved ones back home during an emergency or other important events. These communications are delivered around-the-clock, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

While serving 1.4 million active duty personnel, the Red Cross also reaches out to the 1.5 million members of the National Guard and the Reserves who reside in nearly every local community in America.

Hundreds of Red Cross chapters brief departing service members and their families regarding available support services and explain how the Red Cross may assist them during the deployment. Both active duty and community-based military can count on the Red Cross to provide emergency communications that link them with their families back home

Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services personnel serve in nearly 1,000 chapters in the United States, on 109 military installations around the world and alongside our troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

For more information on how you can help, contact the Suffolk Chapter Red Cross at 539-6645.