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Northern Iraq: ICRC aid for wounded and detainees

23-10-1996 News Release 96/42

The intense fighting that has been raging for several days between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), particularly in the Dokan lake region, has again caused heavy losses. Between 250 and 300 war wounded have been admitted to ICRC-assisted hospitals in the Erbil and Sulaymaniyah areas since mid-October. Around 200 of these casualties were initially screened and given first aid at the Rania hospital near Dhokan. ICRC nurses have distributed emergency medical supplies such as dressing sets and medicines to surgical facilities on both sides, sufficient to treat several hundred patients.

Since 12 October, ICRC delegates have visited some 300 persons detained on either side in connection with the conflict. In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC is continuing its attempts to obtain access to all detainees and to be allowed to talk to them without witnesses in order to assess their conditions of detention and treatment.

In an effort to promote respect for basic humanitarian standards and values, radio spots explaining the rules of conduct in hostilities have been given to local radio stations in KDP- and PUK-held areas.

Thirteen delegates and around 70 locally hired staff are working out of three ICRC offices in northern Iraq, located in Erbil, Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk. Stocks of blankets, jerrycans, cooking utensils and plastic sheeting sufficient for around 6,000 people are available to assist internally displaced civilians should the need arise.