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Australian Red Cross sending two aid workers to Middle East


Wednesday August 2, 2006

Australian Red Cross is sending two aid workers to help vulnerable people caught up in the conflict in the Middle East.

Kamaran Dogramaci will leave Perth on Friday for Beirut where he will work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) providing logistics support for all its activities.

He will be responsible for the preparation and transportation of food and other relief items like blankets, sanitation kits and medical supplies as well as the transportation of personnel responsible for relief distribution, protection and family tracing.

Kamaran has completed many similar missions for Australian Red Cross. In recent years he has worked in Angola and Darfur, and only returned from Northern Kenya and Southern Sudan two weeks ago.

While he concedes the work is often dangerous and difficult, he says it's the kind of work he's wanted to do ever since he was a young boy growing up in Northern Iraq.

'It was always my dream to work with an international aid organisation like Red Cross so that I could help alleviate the suffering of the world's most vulnerable people,' he said.

A few days after Kamaran Dogramaci leaves for Beirut, another Australian Red Cross aid worker will be heading off to Gaza.

Sydney nurse Catherine Salmon will also work with the ICRC, monitoring the general health of the Gaza population, responding to an increase in medical needs because of the ongoing conflict and assisting the Palestinian Red Crescent Society with technical advice and support.

She'll be responsible for overseeing and assisting with supplies, logistics, planning and training, as well as providing practical clinical care.

Catherine's work with Red Cross has previously taken her to Darfur, Southern Sudan and most recently, Somalia.

'I'd been nursing for 30 years and it was something I'd always wanted to do. And then, all of a sudden, I thought if I don't do it now, I'll never do it,' said Catherine.

'I keep going back because people are just so grateful for any assistance you can give them...no matter how big or small that assistance may be,' she said.

There are currently 85 Australian Red Cross aid workers employed in health, water and sanitation, logistics and tracing programs around the world.

For more information or to make a donation to ARC's Middle East Appeal:

  • Visit: www.redcross.org.au
  • Call: 1800 811 700 toll free
  • Send a cheque to GPO Box 2957 Melbourne Vic 8060 marked 'Middle East Appeal'

Donations to the Middle East Appeal 2006 will:

  • Support the International Committee of the Red Cross in the provision of emergency assistance on behalf of the victims of the international armed conflict in the region
  • Fund the deployment of specialist aid workers to assist the ICRC response in the region

NOTE: Australian Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of any donation for an international appeal to cover appeal costs. Should the funds raised exceed the amount required to meet the immediate and longer-term needs of the people in the affected areas, Australian Red Cross will use any excess funds to help people affected by emergencies within the same region of the world.

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