GENEVA (Jan. 15)
In anticipation of hostilities in the Persian Gulf, the Geneva-based International Committee for the Red Cross has enlarged its delegations throughout the Middle East and has additional personnel on standby.
The organization is also making preparations to care for civilian refugees and is reminding all potential combatants of their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.
The ICRC is working in close cooperation with the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. The Red Crescent is the equivalent of the Red Cross in Moslem countries.
The ICRC has never recognized its Israeli counterpart, the Magen David Adom. But a spokesman, Gabriel de Monmollin, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Monday that the Red Cross is also working in close contact with the MDA.
It has 77 delegates deployed in the region, ready for emergencies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Israel and the Israeli-administered territories.
Plans have been made to deploy nine mobile medical teams in the event of a conflict.
Fifty additional delegates are standing by, and another 50 can be mobilized rapidly.
Medical and other relief supplies have been stockpiled in the Middle East and Europe. Two ICRC transport aircraft are ready for takeoff.
The ICRC plans to set up reception camps with a combined capacity for 300,000 to accommodate war refugees. It is already running three camps in Jordan with a capacity of 40,000.