Tribute to Zairian Red Cross volunteers
30-10-1996 News Release 96/43
Anarchy, chaos and terror have taken hold of Bukavu, forcing UNHCR and most other humanitarian organizations to start withdrawing their staff on 26 October.
Expatriates working for the ICRC and for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies attempted at first to pursue their humanitarian activities alone, but on 28 October, in the face of insurmountable difficulties, they also left the city. Some 300,000 Rwandan refugees and thousands of displaced Zairians are now abandoned to their own fate. In Bukavu, armed groups are fighting over whatever goods can still be found. In the midst of this horror, volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Zaire are showing admirable courage and determination. Every morning, wearing Red Cross tabards and protective gloves and masks, they bury dozens of men, women and children killed during the night throughout the city, risking their own lives to ward off epidemics.