Texto en Español
Fred Cuny was a disaster relief specialist who used his training in engineering to do humanitarian work. He worked in countries such as Biafra, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and Bosnia. In March 1995, he disappeared in Chechnya and was never found. His life was featured on the PBS documentary program Frontline.
Most of the information contained herein is drawn from the Frontline documentary on Fred Cuny, the Cuny section of the PBS web site, and Professional Responsibility: Focusing on the Exemplary by Michael S. Pritchard of Western Michigan University.
You can find more information on these materials and other Cuny-related sources in sections 9 and 10.
After the Persian Gulf War, Iraqi rebels who opposed Saddam
Hussein fled to the mountains in southern Turkey. These Kurds,
however, were not welcome in Turkey, either. Fred Cuny decided
his next project would be to help out the Kurds. He had to
decide what his primary goal would be; two of the possibilities
were to help the Kurds where they were, or to first try to move
them somewhere else.
Aiding the Kurds in their present position would require
building permanent refugee camps. But Cuny felt it was much
more humane to get the Kurds back to their homes as soon as
possible. He would not be able to do it alone, though. He knew
that military support would be needed, and Cuny was unsure as
to whether the U.S. government would provide such support. So
he needed to weigh the various possibilities, and come up with
Once again, Cuny decided to think first of those in
distress. He promised that he would get the Kurds back to their
homes in Iraq in two months, and went about attracting support
for his plan. Fortunately, the U.S. and its allies pledged full
military support for Cuny's plan.
During "Operation Provide Comfort," Cuny directed the
construction of a transitional tent city, which was used to
house the Kurds in their journey home. Supplies were airlifted,
as well, and hundreds of thousands of Kurdish refugees were
successfully repatriated. It was another feather in the cap of
the energetic Texan.
Pictures of Iraq