Caritas Remaining on Front Line of Aid in Iraq

ROME, APRIL 21, 2004 ( At a time when non-governmental organizations are leaving Iraq for fear of kidnappings, Caritas is intensifying its work to serve the civilian population.

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The institution has a task force of 300 volunteers who distribute food and medicines, especially to mothers and children, and who work to provide drinking water.

Caritas volunteers are active in 14 centers around the country, including four in Baghdad, one in Basra, and one in Nasiriyah.

Among the key projects is the Web Baby Program, which cares for about 15,000 children and their mothers’ essential needs.

The Caritas centers also function as pharmaceutical storehouses, on occasion providing medicines for public hospitals and Red Cross and Red Crescent day clinics.

The Italian newspaper Avvenire reported that the Catholic bishops of Iraq, helped by the apostolic nuncio, are building a hospital in Basra with the aid of national agencies that form part of Caritas International, particularly Caritas-Italy.

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