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Dr. Said Hakki, President of Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, in the United States and Available for Interviews May 12-16

Able to discuss IRCO's Neighborhood Reconstruction Program to normalize up to 600,000 internally displaced residents of Baghdad into self-sustaining


WASHINGTON, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Said Hakki, president of the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization (IRCO), is in Washington, DC, May 12-16 and available for interviews to discuss the organization's Neighborhood Reconstruction Program (NRP) to immediately assist up to 600,000 Internally Displaced (IDP) residents of Baghdad to resettle themselves in self-sustaining neighborhoods consisting of basic services, health care, schools and employment opportunities.

As noted in a March 15, 2008 report by Refugee's International titled "Uprooted and Unstable: Meeting Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Iraq," Iraq is currently "faced with one of the largest displacement and humanitarian crises in the world" with more than 2 million internally displaced persons "in urgent need of assistance."

The report contends that "as a result of the vacuum created by the failure of both the Iraqi Government and the international community to act in a timely and adequate manner, non-state actors must play a major role in providing assistance to vulnerable Iraqis ... ultimately, only Iraqis can save Iraq."

The Iraqi Red Crescent Organization is a Red Cross affiliated, non- sectarian humanitarian and health organization providing relief to refugees and IDPs and is the only group qualified and prepared to lead a large-scale reconstruction and humanitarian effort. IRCO has the full support of the Government of Iraq, and the GOI has offered to provide matching funds for all approved NRP projects.


Dr. Said Hakki is a citizen of both the United States and Iraq. He served as a senior adviser on urology and fertility within the Ministry of Health, but fled with his family to the United States in 1986. Dr. Hakki maintained a respected medical practice at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center in Florida until he volunteered to return to Baghdad in 2002 to advise the interim government's Ministry of Health.

Following his service to the Iraq Ministry of Health, Dr. Hakki became president of the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization. In that capacity he has led the IRCO in its work with Iraqi government agencies and ministries to deliver food and medical supplies to areas of conflict inside Iraq. The Iraqi government also relies on the IRCO to help coordinate the relief of and access to medical care by externally displaced people and to coordinate this work with the host Red Crescent Organizations and the IFRC.


At a time when most other nationally and internationally accountable organizations operate Iraqi relief efforts remotely from other countries, the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization has 100,000 volunteers and employees, and more than 300 offices throughout Iraq, including Kurdistan. Founded in 1932, IRCO joined the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 1934, and since its inception has been actively involved in relief and emergency assistance programs both in Iraq and the surrounding region.

IRCO operates as an auxiliary to the Government of Iraq (GOI), while also adhering to the fundamental principles of the Red Cross Red Crescent movement. Along with health and emergency relief in Iraq, IRCO's mandate includes support to the Iraqi Ministries of Health, Trade, Education, Defense and Interior. Since 1992, GOI has given IRCO responsibility for overall management and coordination of emergency disaster response within the country. Today, IRCO is working to alleviate the suffering of the greatest humanitarian crisis the Iraqi people have ever faced.

As the lead humanitarian organization on the ground in Iraq, and the only indigenous NGO with the capacity to operate effectively in all regions of the country, IRCO is uniquely positioned to operate effectively in all regions of Iraq due to strong working relationships among the Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish communities. It has also maintained the ability to work in areas controlled by insurgent and sectarian forces while preserving its neutrality in the ongoing conflict. This ability to operate safely in unsecured areas provides a broader outreach for the assistance of UN agencies, ICRC, Federation, international and local non-governmental organizations as well as governmental institutions.


Suzanne Fenech


202-270-2194 (cell)

SOURCE Iraqi Red Crescent Organization
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