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ICRC delegates arrive in Mazar-i-Sharif

16-11-2001 News Release 01/55

Geneva (ICRC) - Two expatriate delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have arrived in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. They crossed into northern Afghanistan on Thursday, 15 November after travelling from Turkmenabad, Turkmenistan to join the one hundred Afghan ICRC staff who have maintained operations in the city throughout the recent events.

Since the beginning of the week, ICRC staff in Mazar-i-Sharif have worked with the Afghan Red Crescent Society and public health officials to remove bodies left lying in the streets and to see to their burial. They are providing food and first aid to detainees in the city until such time as the new authorities can assume this responsibility. They have also enabled the detainees to communicate with their families by means of Red Cross messages. The ICRC’s limb-fitting and rehabilitation centre in Mazar-i-Sharif, one of six run by the organization in Afghanistan, has remained open throughout the recent events.

The ICRC expatriate delegates are coordinating the organization’s work in the city, assessing new and ongoing needs, and meeting with the authorities to outline ICRC activities and remind them of their responsibilities under international humanitarian law as regards prisoners and the civilian population.

The delegates were followed into the country by two truckloads of supplies, including enough medical kits to treat 400 war-wounded people. These pre-packaged kits – developed by the ICRC on the basis of its experience in various conflicts around the world – contain items such as dressings, splints, medication and chest drains. The two trucks are expected in Mazar-i-Sharif on Saturday November 17. The medical supplies will be distributed to hospitals.

The trucks are also carrying enough blankets, tarpaulins and jerrycans for 2,500 families. These will be distributed to homeless families and displaced persons in the city. Additional supplies of food, medical and other aid will be sent to Mazar-i-Sharif as required.