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Cornish Disaster Relief Charity Brands Killings As "Barbaric"

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3:19pm 17th September 2014

A Cornish disaster relief charity brands the video killing of a British aid worker "barbaric."

There is a desperate search for another Brit held hostage after David Haines was murdered by IS fighters.

30 countries have pledged to help Iraq defeat them by "any means necessary."

Allison Wallace is Chief Executive at Helston based Shelterbox, she said: "Like everyone across the country I awoke today to the chilling news that British aid worker David Haines appears to be the latest victim of brutality by Islamic State militants, having been kidnapped in Syria in 2013. My first thought was for his family and friends, who will have endured month after month of despair and hope, now so cruelly dashed. Our hearts go out to them.

"My second thought was that David Haines was an aid worker, whose only motivation was to ease the suffering of people caught up in conflict. It defies any rational explanation to seize, and then murder, a person who had no political or military agenda, only the humanitarian imperative to help innocent victims of war.

"David Haines worked for ACTED (the Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development), the Paris-based non-governmental organisation which frequently partners ShelterBox around the world, and is currently helping to distribute our aid in Iraq.

"Iraq is among the world’s most troubled countries, and ShelterBox has been a key player in trying to ease that suffering, providing shelter and equipment for thousands of displaced families fleeing from war zones.

"As I write, ShelterBox does not have any response team members in either Iraq or Syria, although our aid programme continues via local partner organisations. But there is little doubt that we will need to send teams into these areas again, and probably to other conflict zones such as Ukraine or Gaza.

"There are families in all these places who need our help. The ShelterBox aid model relies to a great extent on highly-trained volunteers, who give freely of their time and expertise. They enter disaster and conflict zones to assess need, to plan logistics, and then to deliver shelter.

"I want to reassure everyone that the security of our aid workers is our primary concern, and that all foreseeable dangers are considered before we deploy response teams to help families in need. Every SRT (ShelterBox Response Team member) has been rigorously trained in personal safety by security industry and military professionals. No-one who wears the ShelterBox badge is ever knowingly put in harm’s way, and there is a great reliance on teamwork and communications to maximise individual safety.

"If indiscriminate hostage-taking is now casting a wider net, from journalists to aid workers, we will redouble our efforts to keep our people safe.

"David Haines’s death is bound to make the whole third sector measure every risk, and every single humanitarian footstep, more cautiously. And I promise the loved ones of those ShelterBox employees or volunteers, who reach out so generously to families caught up in war, that their safe return is absolutely paramount."

 

3:19pm 17th September 2014

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