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Colombia: ICRC to assist over 170,000 displaced people in 1999

19-08-1999 News Release 99/34

The internal conflict in Colombia has intensified over the last six months, taking an increasingly heavy toll on the civilian population and forcing more and more people to flee their homes. The ICRC has therefore decided to expand its emergency assistance programme for 1999.

In cooperation with the Colombian Red Cross, ICRC delegates will provide emergency aid for an estimated 171,000 internally displaced people this year. They also plan to ensure some degree of self-sufficiency for communities that have been displaced for long periods of time by providing them with relief items such as agricultural tools and fishing equipment.

Through their regular contacts with all the parties to the internal conflict, ICRC delegates seek to promote respect for international humanitarian law with a view to creating the conditions in which civilians can remain in their homes and live there in safety and dignity.

The ICRC has been active in Colombia since 1969. Fifty delegates and 150 local staff currently operate out of the delegation in Bogota and 14 other offices in the country.