FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
United States military Veterans will enter Iraq this Friday, October 6th, in order to help rebuild water treatment facilities that were either destroyed by U.S. and British bombers, or rendered inoperable by the allies-led economic sanctions.
In an unprecedented effort to further expose the devastating effects of US-led sanctions on Iraq, a team composed of WW II, Korean war, Viet Nam war, and Gulf War veterans has gathered in Amman, Jordan to meet before crossing the border in 2 days time. The veterans, representatives of Veterans for Peace's acclaimed Iraq Water Project, will travel from Amman to Baghdad by car after having successfully raised the money necessary to repair the Labbanni Water treatment facility which serves 55,000 people.
Veterans for Peace, Inc., a non-profit educational and humanitarian organization with a long record of accomplishments since its creation in 1985, is an organization based in Washington, DC that holds 81 chapters nationwide as well as several international affiliations. It is an accredited NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) with the United Nations through their Department of Public Information.
Waterborne diseases account for most of the child fatalities caused by sanctions (at least 4,000 per month under the age of 5 years old). Under The Iraq Water Project, Veterans for Peace (VFP) will restore water-cleansing capabilities and provide 10 years of maintenance to four water-treatment facilities located in a suburb of Basrah (a major city in the southeast) called Abul Khaseeb. This area has been ravaged by 2 wars, sanctions, and ongoing bombings. Furthermore, it has been virtually poisoned by the aftereffects of depleted uranium weapons and ammunition use. Funds to be raised for repair are between $110,000-$125,000.
The Iraq Water Project is a partnership with Life for Relief and Development, another non-profit organization. Life is the only relief organization to have dual permission from both the Iraqi government and the US Treasury Department, to do relief work in Iraq. It is they who will work out the logistics inside Iraq.
The project is led by Co-Chairperson Fredy Champagne; VFP Board of Directors member and Viet Nam veteran. In 1988, Mr. Champagne created a similar but larger program in 1988 called the Veterans Viet Nam Restoration Project (VVRP). The VVRP provided American veterans and others with opportunities to return to Viet Nam for humanitarian service. The VVRP operate(d) under the premise that returning to Viet Nam, working directly on community projects and returning to former war zones where they served, helps veterans heal the legacy of war. Mr. Champagne is leading the first team.
The other Co-Chairperson is Edilith Eckart, longtime noted peace activist and recent winner of Physicians for Social Responsibility?s "Broad Street Pump" award. Ms. Eckart has been a long-standing member of VFP?s Board of Directors. She now devotes most of her energies to The Iraq Water Project.
The Project Coordinator for The Iraq Water Project is accomplished New York City Playwright Michael John Carley. Mr. Carley is also VFP's United Nations NGO Representative, for whom he has worked in Bosnia and Iraq, among others, since 1991.
For more information:
Michael John Carley
(646) 242-4003 - cell
United Nations NGO Representative
(and Iraq Water Project Coordinator)
Veterans for Peace, Inc.