Iraq: Basra team evacuated
15 August 2003
Due to increasing insecurity in the city of Basra in Iraq, MSF has decided to evacuate its staff from the city. The MSF team has relocated to the neighbouring country of Kuwait and shall immediately review the programmes and options for the future. The evacuation has followed a series of bomb and grenade attacks that were initially focused on the coalition military forces. The attacks are also taking place in public areas and foreigners and symbols of foreign presence, such as journalists and aid workers, have also been attacked. Iraqi health workers are increasingly targeted and threatened and even abducted for ransom. A few weeks ago, an international ICRC staff member was killed in an attack on their car. The developing insecurity and the increased number of attacks and threats against aid workers is a clear indication that the division between military and humanitarian action is not respected by the armed groups who are active in the country. Because of the dangers presented to staff in Basra, they have been evacuated. However MSF remains in Iraq working in other areas of the country.