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Sierra Leone: Emergency medical assistance

28-05-1997 News Release 97/20

Over the last few days the ICRC delegation in Freetown has managed to keep some essential activities going amidst the confusion following last weekend's coup d'état. Sierra Leone Red Cross first-aiders have evacuated several dozen casualties to medical facilities in the capital.

On 26 and 27 May, ICRC teams went to the Netland and Connaught hospitals where more than 40 seriously wounded patients were waiting to be operated on. The delegates delivered enough medicines and emergency medical supplies (anaesthetics, antibiotics and dressings) to treat about 200 casualties. On Tuesday they transferred 33 wounded from Connaught to Netland hospital, where two surgeons are performing operations.

The ICRC delegation in Sierra Leone comprises 24 expatriate delegates and 200 local staff working in Freetown, Kenema, Segbwema and Zimmi. During recent months some 11,500 displaced people have received resettlement aid in the form of three months'food rations. An agricultural assistance programme covering 180,000 people is under way in the east of the country, where the ICRC is also providing support for 12 health centres and a mobile clinic serving isolated communities. The delegation also carries out regular visits to detainees and arranges for the exchange of family messages between Liberia and Sierra Leone.