Aid agency pulls out of Iraq

The aid agency Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) has said it is pulling out of Iraq because of escalating violence in the country and the danger to its staff.

    MSF says humanitarian workers run 'extreme risks' in Iraq

    MSF said in a statement on Thursday that it had taken the decision "in the light of the extreme risks taken in the country by humanitarian workers".

    "It has become impossible for us, as an international humanitarian

    organisation, to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, whether they are expatriates or Iraqis," said

    Gorik Ooms, director-general of MSF-Belgium.

    "We deeply regret that we are no longer able to bring medical
    aid to the Iraqi people when they need it the most," he added.

    Six more foreigners were kidnapped in Iraq on Wednesday while the kidnappers of an aid worker threatened to hand her to a group allegedly led by Iraq's most wanted man, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


    MSF's withdrawal comes just two months after it had vowed to press on with providing aid inside the country despite deteriorating security conditions and the kidnapping in September of two Italian aid workers.

    Medical assistance

    It said the warring sides in Iraq have repeatedly shown "their lack of respect for independent humanitarian aid", despite the agency's strict rule not to accept any political or military interference in its emergency medical aid.

    "It has become impossible for us ... to guarantee an acceptable level of security for our staff, whether they are expatriates or Iraqis"

    Gorik Ooms,
    MSF-Belgium's Director General

    The aid agency set up three clinics in Baghdad's Sadr City and also provide an ambulance service in the area.

    MSF said its doctors had also provided medical help and support in the cities of Najaf, Karbala and Falluja at the height of fighting in those places.


    People who fled Falluja amid fierce fighting between residents and

    US forces also received help from the agency, it added.

    United Nations agencies pulled out of Iraq last year after a car bomb attack on the UN's Baghdad headquarters in August 2003 killed 22 people.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also
    withdrew expatriate staff from bases in all but the north of the country one year ago following a similar attack in the Iraqi
    capital.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.