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Colombia: Critical situation in eastern Antioquia

24-01-2003 News Release 03/12

Fighting for control of the eastern part of Antioquia province in north-eastern Colombia has deepened the humanitarian crisis facing the area.

The killing of 17 peasants in the countryside near San Carlos on 16 January prompted many people to flee to the town.
 
ICRC delegates arrived in San Carlos on 21 January to bring humanitarian assistance, and some 250 people received food for two weeks, hygiene supplies, cooking utensils, crockery and bedding. The ICRC will be monitoring the situation closely and will evaluate the need for further aid distributions within two weeks.
 
The situation in eastern Antioquia has been deteriorating since the beginning of December, due to intensified fighting and blockades and an increase in the number of executions. The ICRC has stepped up its presence in the area to meet the needs of the population. In 2002, ICRC delegates provided emergency assistance to over 700 displaced persons in San Carlos – more than 2,800 people.
 
The ICRC is making confidential approaches to the parties to the conflict, to persuade them of the need to observe humanitarian standards.

 Further information: Annick Bouvier, ICRC , tel.: ++ 41 22 730 24 58