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Red Cross and Red Crescent Issue Outline of 2003 Goals


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has issued an outline of its goals for next year, a year in which it says it expects to help 65 million people.

The Red Cross is seeking more than $150 million to carry out its activities next year. Federation officials say the bulk of the money will be spent on operations in Asia and Africa.

The biggest assistance programs are in the area of public health. A large portion of the agency's efforts will go toward reducing HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, which, together, kill millions of people every year. But the head of the Red Cross Health Department, Alvaro Bermejo, says the Red Cross will also be concentrating on other diseases, such as measles.

"Another big part of the health appeal in many countries is designed to reduce the number of vaccine-preventable deaths, particularly measles deaths in Africa," he said. "Measles is still today the greatest cause of preventable deaths, killing over 400,000 children every year in Africa."

The federation is also preparing for a possible war in Iraq. The Red Cross Operations Manager for the Middle East and North Africa, Kalle Loovi, says people are being trained and supplies gotten ready.

"This autumn there has been efficient training for camp management, first aid and emergency health activities, etc," he said. "We are pre-positioning non-food items like camp material and household items."

Red Cross officials say, if war does come, they are planning to assist 75,000 people inside Iraq and 250,000 people in neighboring countries.

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