Turmoil Prevents Red Cross From Entering Fallujah

As turmoil between the U.S. military and Iraqi insurgents continues the International Red Cross Volunteers have been prevented from entering Fallujah.

More than a week has passed and both the Red Cross and the Iraqi Red Crescent Society are growing more and more concerned for Iraqi civilians caught in the ongoing crossfire in which they are unable to offer relief. There are fears that thousands of men, women, and children have been wounded and are receiving little to no food, water, and medical care.

 In Baghdad, Ahmed Rawi said the Iraqi Red Crescent Society organized a convoy of four trucks and ambulances filled with supplies to enter Fallujah, but they have been confined to the city’s borders. The supplies were delivered to Fallujah General Hospital. Rawi is a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Patients have yet to arrive at Fallujah General, which is located in a US-Iraqi controlled area on the outskirts of Fallujah.

“I can’t sacrifice the lives of volunteers; it is very dangerous to go inside Fallujah now and we preferred not to enter,” said Ismail al-Haqi, director of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. 

Rawi also told the Associated Press the convoy rerouted south to Amiriyah al-Fallujah and other surrounding areas in attempts to assist civilians who are believed to be located in these areas.  

“We urge all parties, either the American forces or the Iraqi government to secure the lives of people of Fallujah; this is very important.” Rawi said.

 Muin Kassis, a spokesman for the ICRC in Jordan said a convoy will be sent early Tuesday to two Fallujah suburbs, Assaklawia and Karma to monitor the conditions of civilians and displaced families.   

Kassis expressed concerns about reports of fever, diarrhea, and other symptoms sweeping through camps and also the limited access to medical care that civilians who are not under the control of the U.S. military are experiencing.

Based in 80 countries, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an independent organization that works to ensure humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. ICRC is comprised of a staff of 12, 000. To learn more of the ICRC visit www.icrc.org.