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ICRC and Colombian Red Cross call for safeguarding of health-care staff and facilities

03-07-2013 News Release 13/121

With protests escalating in the Catatumbo area of Norte de Santander department, the Colombian delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Colombian Red Cross are concerned that medical services are being obstructed.

The sick and injured urgently need medical attention. In some areas, however, medical vehicles are unable to get through. "Obstacles to the work of health-care personnel are endangering the lives of a great many people," said head of delegation Jordi Raich.

Fernando José Cárdenas, president of the Colombian Red Cross, also spoke out strongly for safeguarding medical staff and facilities, adding: "We will do everything in our power to support the delivery of health care in Catatumbo."

The ICRC has delivered medical supplies to Ocaña hospital, while the Colombian Red Cross is providing pre-hospital care and an ambulance service to evacuate the wounded.

Both organizations call for safe passage for health-care workers, ambulances and vehicles transporting medical supplies.

For further information, please contact:
María Cristina Rivera, ICRC Bogotá, tel: +57 311 491 07 75
Carlos Alberto Giraldo, Colombian Red Cross, Bogotá, tel: +57 310 224 79 07