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Colombia : Aid for people affected by fighting in the river Truandó area

24-10-2002 News Release 02/43

Last week the ICRC distributed food and other basic necessities to some 1,300 people, both resident and displaced, in the indigenous communities of Marcial and Jagual in the river Truandó area of Chocó department.

Last week the ICRC distributed food and other basic necessities to some 1,300 people, both resident and displaced, in the indigenous communities of Marcial and Jagual in the river Truandó area of Chocó department.

A total of 1,300 food parcels, together with hygiene kits and other essential items, were handed over to victims of fighting in the area. The supplies had been transported from Apartadó to Riosucio, where they were loaded onto 19 small barges, the only craft that can navigate the narrow channels giving access to the communities concerned.

In parallel with the aid distribution, members of the ICRC's mobile health unit operating along the river Atrato provided medical assistance for more than 350 people and vaccinated 220 children and 40 women. Because of the exceptionally high concentration of people in Marcial and Jagual, awareness-raising sessions were held on hygiene and environmental sanitation. Eight water tanks were installed and materials were provided for the construction of eight emergency latrines so as to avoid the spread of disease in the two communities.

On 14 October last the ICRC also distributed assistance in Quibdó, the capital of Chocó department, to some 800 displaced people from the river Truandó area.

ICRC delegates, who visit the area regularly, maintain contact with all parties to the conflict in order to remind them of their obligation under international humanitarian law to respect the civilian population and protect it from the effects of the fighting. They draw attention in particular to the fact that civilians must be guaranteed access to basic goods and services indispensable to their survival, especially food and safe water, and to health care.