Money pours in for child war victims

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The Independent Online
A WEEK has gone by since Robert Fisk began his reports on the plight of Iraq's children and The Independent's appeal has already raised nearly pounds 10,000. The money is going to help children struck down by leukaemia because of weapons used during the Gulf War. Many are dying because of a lack of medicines and it is towards importing these cancer-treating drugs that your donations will go.

Officials of the UN sanctions committee and the British government have said authorisation for medicines of this kind could be issued with minimum delay. Every application for export of medicines must be separately approved by the Department of Health, the Foreign Office and the Department of Trade and Industry.

We have called on Care International and Medical Aid for Iraqi Children to help oversee their procurement and delivery from start to finish. Both groups are already working in Iraq.

Care International's Lockton Morrissey, who is based in Iraq, explained the path our consignment will take once it is shipped into Jordan. "The goods will come into Aquaba port where they will be tested by the ministry of health to make sure they are what we say they are. Because of the no- fly restrictions on Iraq we then have to transport the drugs by road, in refrigerated trucks.

"When a delivery gets to the Iraqi border we have to present documentation to show that it is authorised under the sanctions. After further checks in Iraq, it will carry on to the ministry of health in Baghdad and be checked again. It will then be released to us to distribute."

The drugs will be administered by well-qualified doctors to those who most need them. Professor Soad Tabaq- chali, medical director of Medical Aid, said: "The capability of the Iraqi doctors is not in question. Most of them have been trained in Britain and are very highly qualified. But sanctions have left them in the impossible position of having nothing to treat their patients with."

The help of Independent readers will allow these doctors to save lives that would otherwise be lost.

t Please send cheques, made out to The Independent Iraq Appeal, to PO Box No 6870, 1 Canada Square, London, E14 5BT.

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