Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Aid work becoming more risky in Baghdad

  1. #1
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    New York, NY

    Default Aid work becoming more risky in Baghdad

    Aid work becoming more risky in Baghdad - IRIN, 22 Aug.
    Aid workers are struggling to find safer ways to deliver aid to displaced and vulnerable families in Baghdad. The city, which is now effectively divided along religious lines, is increasingly under the control of armed gangs and is seen by aid agencies as the most dangerous place in Iraq in which to operate.

    "We don't have freedom to deliver aid to displaced families," Fatah Ahmed, vice-president of the Iraqi Aid Association (IAA), said. "Unfortunately, we have to choose which families to help taking into account the safety of our volunteers."

    "Sunni volunteers are being sent to Sunni neighbourhoods and Shia to Shia areas," he added.

    Ahmed recently became vice-president of the IAA after Jamal Hussein, the former vice-president, was killed while delivering aid in a Baghdad suburb.

    "He was killed because he was a Shia helping Sunni families. For this reason we prefer to send volunteers to areas where at least they can be welcomed," he said.

    According to Mayada Marouf, a spokesperson for the locally-based group Keeping Children Alive (KCA), local aid agencies have rated neighbourhoods according to their safety, leaving the most dangerous areas to be covered by the Ministry of Displacement and Migration.

    "Dora, Sadr City, Adhamiyah, Alawi, Batawin, Hayfa and Hurryia are the most dangerous places," Mayada said.

    "We had to stop using cars with emblems of our aid organisation to prevent us being targeted," she said. "We have to carry the supplies in small cars making many trips, each time taking a different route."

    Mayada and Ahmed agreed that Baghdad had never been so violent, and aid had never been so hard to deliver. They said many local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had stopped their operations after being targeted ...

  2. #2
    Council Member redbullets's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Springfield, Virginia


    This has become an interesting dilemma for the international NGOs working in Iraq. Many have ethical and philosophical constraints that prevent the use of PMCs/PSCs, and have equally legitimate concerns that prevent them from receiving protection from coalition forces. Therefore, they can't easily post expatriates in the dicier places that often need the greatest degree of assistance.

    That has created the situation where many, if not most are basing their expatriates in either Erbil or Amman, and conducting the "remote control" activities that has been written about a good bit lately. However, being able to monitor implementation is darn near impossible, and therefore meeting the reporting obligations to the major insitutional/governmental donors becomes very difficult. Boils down to having very reliable, well-trained national counterparts, or in my opinion, this isn't doable.

    The large number of organizations basing in Erbil seems a bit of a stretch - prices are as high or higher than Amman these days, so they should probably just stay in Amman, as the need is hardly great in the Kurdish north at the moment, though it gives organizations the ability to claim they are in Iraq, even though it isn't the Iraq everyone thinks of when they see/hear the news.

    My organization deals with these problems with a variety of strategies - we have had expatriates directly monitor field data collection, in dicey places at times, primarily by being very low profile, and coordinating with local power brokers through very reliable national staff colleagues. In other places, we simply curtailed operations because we felt our national colleagues would be in danger. In others, we engaged members of Iraqi ministry governorate-level offices, and monitored their activities on our behalf through national staff QA monitors. This provided us with locally-known people who could move in and out of communities facing minimal threat.

    Earlier on (2003-2004), while collecting data in the Sunni Triangle areas, we employed expatriate Muslim colleagues with language and/or cultural/religious affinity for those in the areas they were working, and worked very hard to "make nice" with the local Shaikhs. This was very effective. During all of our data collection in more than 12,000 communities in Iraq, we only had one incident where one of our data collection Team Leaders was injured (Tikrit, 2006, he is a local pharmacist), and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - our team was not targeted.


    Just because you haven't been hit yet does NOT mean you're doing it right.

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." President Dwight D. Eisenhower


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts