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Indonesia: Enhancing conflict response in Aceh

19-09-2002 News Release 02/38

The ICRC has launched a course in first aid and evacuation by ambulance in Banda Aceh, in Aceh province. The purpose is to support the Indonesian Red Cross Society in its main activity in the province: taking injured people to hospital.

The 12-day workshop, which began on 16 September, is being attended by 30 volunteers from all the Society's 13 branches in Aceh.

The course marks a further step in the ongoing process of strengthening the Society's ability to act as a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization in Aceh, and in other conflict-torn areas of Indonesia.

In June, the Indonesian Red Cross and the ICRC organized a two-week course for 38 disaster-response volunteers in Aceh on evacuating casualties in conflict zones, especially in mountainous and other difficult areas. Instruction was given by two experts, one from the Austrian Red Cross and one from Indonesian Red Cross headquarters in Jakarta. The Austrian Red Cross donated four complete sets of rescue equipment.

The ICRC has been working with the Indonesian Red Cross in Aceh in the areas of relief and medical care, water-and-sanitation assistance and hygiene training for some years. Today this cooperation also includes work to enhance conflict-preparedness, restore contact between family members separated by the fighting, and promoting compliance with international humanitarian law.

In joint operations with the ICRC, National Society staff and volunteers have worked to meet the needs of the people affected by conflict and population movements in Aceh, Central and South Sulawesi, North Maluku and Maluku. By the end of June they had provided some 70,000 people (about 17,000 families) with non-food relief supplies and helped them boost their coping mechanisms.