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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 27, 2003
3:24 PM
CONTACT: Oxfam America 
Adrienne Leicester Smith, 617-728-2406; e-mail: asmith@oxfamamerica.org
Internet Users Raise Over $600,000 in 6 Days for Oxfam's Humanitarian Relief Fund for Iraqi People
 
WASHINGTON - March 27 - Responding to the exploding humanitarian crisis facing innocent children and adults in war-torn Iraq, 8,400 Internet users donated more than $641,000 in just six days via the Web to a humanitarian relief fund organized by Oxfam America. MoveOn.org sent out an email Friday night encouraging its list of more than 2 million activists to donate to Oxfam via its website at http://www.oxfamamerica.org.

"Before the war even started, nearly a half a million Iraqi children suffered from malnutrition and more than 16 million Iraqi people rely on limited food supplies from the United Nations," said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. "Now that war is underway, food distribution has stopped and access to clean water has become increasingly difficult. We know from the last Gulf War that most civilians died from cholera and other diseases related to dirty water."

"Thousands of Americans have responded to the challenge to ensure sufficient food, clean water, temporary housing and medical supplies are available," added Offenheiser. "This unprecedented outpouring of support via the Internet will go far in aiding the innocents caught in this conflict."

Oxfam has been hard at work to prepare camps for possible refugee flows along the border of Iraq. Camp Ruweishid, in Jordan, is already up and running with full water and sanitation capabilities for 10,000 people. Working under the auspices of the UN at all times, Oxfam is also equipping camps in Iran and Syria. Oxfam engineers are also busy training other UN staff. Oxfam is poised to enter Iraq as soon as it is safe.

"We have just scratched the surface in the depth of relief needed while the war wages on. When the war ends, it will take a monumental effort just to begin repairing and rebuilding the lives of millions of children, families and senior citizens in Iraq," Offenheiser concluded. "We now know the Internet can be a major tool to raise funds for the major humanitarian work to come."

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