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Syria: joint Red Cross Red Crescent team reaches violence-stricken Daraa

06-05-2011 News Release 11/107

Geneva (ICRC) – A 15-member team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies entered the southern Syrian city of Daraa, yesterday 5 May.

The team, which includes a doctor and first-aid volunteers, was accompanied by two trucks carrying about 32 cubic metres of drinking water and two other trucks loaded with food parcels, baby milk and medical supplies.

"Helping people in Daraa is a priority for us, because it is the city that has been hardest hit by the ongoing violence," said Marianne Gasser, head of the ICRC delegation in Damascus, after arriving in Daraa. "Our main objective in coming here is to provide emergency medical and food aid, and to obtain a clearer understanding of the needs and the humanitarian situation."

The team visited the Daraa Governmental Hospital, bearing dressing kits and other medical items. They met with members of the hospital staff and some patients and were told that the main needs were for baby milk and medicines for chronic illnesses.

"This brief visit to Daraa is a positive step. We will return in a few days," said Ms Gasser. "Everyone affected by the violence has the right to receive assistance, and we hope to be able to provide more help to Daraa and other cities in the near future."

Since the onset of the violence, the ICRC has been coordinating its response with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, which has been delivering essential supplies such as first-aid kits, stretchers and other emergency-response equipment. Both organizations have been cooperating with Syria's health ministry to bring aid to violence-stricken areas and are working to deliver medical supplies to hospitals and other health-care facilities in the country.

For further information, please contact:
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57
Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Damascus, tel: +963 993 700 847