April 4, 2003
Malaysian medical team to Baghdad
PETALING JAYA April 3 - A medical team from the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (Mercy Malaysia) is planning to head for Baghdad early next week to take surgical supplies into the war zone.
The team will be led by Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Jemilah Mahmood.
Mercy Malaysia has had a team of five at a camp on the Iraq-Jordan border since March 13, working with the Jordan Red Crescent Society.
Its chief operating officer, Mohamed Shah Awaluddin, on Thursday received RM10,000 from Sri Nona Food Industries Sdn Bhd to buy medical supplies for the relief mission to Iraq.
Mohamed Shah told reporters that Baghdad and other cities in Iraq were short of surgical supplies while the smaller towns were totally out of supplies.
Apart from Dr Jemilah, the group heading for Baghdad will comprise two members from the team in Jordan and two other volunteers, coming from Kuala Lumpur and London.
"There's little indication that the Iraqis will come out," said Mohamed Shah.
"So we'll now have to find a way to move in to deliver the supplies and to assist them in this difficult situation. Of course, the risk is very high," he said.
The group hoped to enter Iraq by road, either through Jordan or Syria.
Mercy Malaysia has a six-month plan for its Iraq mission and has allocated RM400,000 of its own funds, of which half has been used.
Mohamed Shah said that the Malaysian International Peace Fund had also named Mercy Malaysia as one of the major implementing agencies for aid to Iraq.
Sri Nona Food Industries and its sole distributor, Harpers Trading, have pledged 10 sen from the sale of every 510 gm bottle of Nona and Adabi brand oyster sauce during the next three months towards Mercy Malaysia's humanitarian fund.
Sri Nona marketing manager Joseph Jang said that they were targeting RM50,000 during that period, and the RM10,000 cheque was an advance payment.