Première Urgence - History
-From 1992, ex Yugoslavia: within the context of the war opposing the Serbs to the Bosnians, PU is created in France by Rodolphe Clair, Christophe Duchatellier and Thierry Mauricet. At first, the organization charters trucks to send relief to Sarajevo, where the Bosnians are besieged by the Serbs. Then, in June 1999, PU intervenes on both sides, in Serbia and in Kosovo. In 2003, PU announces it withdraws from the Balkans.
-From March 1997, Albania: PU starts a food program then looks after the refugees fleeing from the Kosovo bombings in June 1999.
-From July 1997, Iraq: in the provinces of Baghdad, Bassorah, Maysa, Dhi Qar, Muthanna, Najaf and Qadisiyah, PU begins to rehabilitate health structures in order to lessen the consequences on the population of the international embargo, which restricts medicine and medical equipment importation. During the second Gulf crisis, the organisation condemns the military intervention of the Coalition forces and worries about the eagerness of the American army to supervise humanitarian aid during its war against Baghdad. In a joint release with MDM, ACF, EMDH, HI and Solidarités, issued on the 3rd of March 2003, PU claims its “refusal to subordinate its action in the field to a military authority that takes part in the conflict”. During the American bombings on Baghdad, the organisation dispatches a medical team to the Iraqi. In April 2003, it also sets up a “NGOs Co-ordination Committee in Iraq” which eventually groups American NGOs financed by the US government even before the war, as soon as January 2003, with the JNBEI (Joint NGO Emergency Preparedness Initiative).
-From June 1998, Georgia: PU rehabilitates private accommodations in the autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, which claimed its independence in July 1992, provoking a land and sea embargo from Russia, up until September 1999. It becomes difficult for the organization to remain in Abkhazia after 2001, when the institutional financial backers stop their subsidies. But PU also works in the villages of Akhmeta and Matani, in the Pankisi Valley where many Chechen refugees are living. Because of insecurity and frequent abductions of foreigners, the organization has to operate in the valley through a Georgian NGO, Elkana.