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Indonesia/Moluccas: ICRC provides medical supplies as violence erupts in North Maluku

30-06-2000 News Release 00/24

Urgently requested medical supplies were flown by an ICRC-chartered helicopter to various health facilities as violence flared up last week in the northern part of Halmahera island in North Maluku province - one flashpoint in the troubled Moluccas, where mounting inter-religious tension has had serious consequences for the population in recent months.

According to recent estimates, the escalating violence between Christian and Muslim communities in North and South Maluku, the two provinces which make up the Moluccas, has already caused many people to flee their homes. Tens of thousands are now living in camps that have been set up on the nearby island of Sulawesi and many more are believed to be displaced within the Moluccas themselves.

As part of an ongoing humanitarian relief programme run from the Indonesian Red Cross Society's office in Ternate, the capital of North Maluku, joint ICRC/National Society teams have already delivered family parcels, clothing, hygiene articles and other emergency supplies to more than 30,000 people in the southern part of the province and distributed family parcels and rice to around 6,000 people in the north.

Previous surveys conducted in North Maluku had already indicated that, with the exception of those living on the island of Morotai, people could still rely on existing coping mechanisms to obtain food but that there was an urgent need for medical and other supplies.