A total of 18 international NGOs based in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, have joined together to coordinate their assistance efforts.
All the members of the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI) agreed on a set of principles, which included a commitment to operating neutrally and independently, avoiding duplication of efforts, and employing as many Iraqis as possible, the NCCI Chairman and Regional Coordinator for Premiere Urgence, Philippe Schneider, told IRIN from Baghdad.
The NGOs had also signed up to complementing each other, and not competing with each other, as well as transparently sharing information. All NGOs basing themselves in Baghdad were encouraged to contact Premiere Urgence with a view to joining the NCCI, he said. "We decided to create a committee in order to share information and not to overlap our efforts," he said. "We see many NGOs going to the same hospitals here and others left with nothing."
The committee had also set up sectoral working groups in a number of areas including health, education, water and sanitation, food and non-food items, engineering and rehabilitation, and logistics and transport. The NCCI had grown in size from only six NGOs last Wednesday when it was established, Schneider added.
In a separate development, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Saturday that following an appeal by religious leaders in mosques, people were returning stolen medicines and materials to hospitals throughout Baghdad. These returned items had become the main sources of supply for the hospitals, said the ICRC.
Fewer than half of the city's hospitals were working properly, even though more and more doctors and staff were returning to work, some without pay, the organisation added. Continuing shortages of electricity meant that some medicines could not be refrigerated and some equipment could not be used.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions