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Colombia: ICRC activities from January to March 2009

29-05-2009 Operational Update

The armed conflict in Colombia has had serious consequences, hitting many communities hard and isolating others. Food and other resources are scarce. Between January and March 2009, the ICRC set up new agricultural projects for local farmers and displaced persons, to help families meet their basic needs.

 
 
A fuller version of this article is available in Spanish, with statistics, photos and more detailed information.

 
 
   
  © CICR /    
 
  The ICRC distributes aid in collaboration with the Colombian Red Cross.    
       
  © CICR / José Ríos    
 
  The ICRC runs agricultural projects to improve the food available to people affected by the conflict.    
       
  © CICR /    
 
  The ICRC provides economic support for victims of the conflict who need medical treatment or physical rehabilitation services. 
      
 
Food security 
 

In the first quarter of 2009, six new projects were approved and/or launched in several regions of the country, benefiting 1,800 people.

The aim of these individual and group projects is to increase beneficiaries’ daily intake of fresh food, which is in short supply as a result of the conflict. The ICRC provides agricultural supplies such as tools, seed, fertilizer, organic pesticides and animals for breeding. It also offers technical assistance and training.

Workshops on farming techniques were also conducted to help communities improve their knowledge and practices in vegetable production and chicken breeding.

 
Providing displaced people with humanitarian aid 
 

People who have been displaced by the armed conflict need emergency humanitarian aid. The ICRC, on some occasions supported by the Colombian Red Cross, focuses on meeting these basic needs.

In the first quarter of 2009, around 14,000 people received aid in Colombia. The ICRC has offices in 11 cities and has signed cooperation agreements with six branches of the Colombian Red Cross.

 
Water and habitat 
 

Between January and March 2009, some projects in Colombia came to an end, while others were identified, prepared and carried out.

In the muncipality of Curillo (C aquetá department), the ICRC repaired and renovated the infrastructure of a school boarding house. In Pasto (Nariño department) the organization built and equipped a children's play centre and adapted the sanitation facilities and kitchen of the UAO (unit responsible for welcoming and advising displaced persons). This office comes under the authority of the Acción Social department that assists displaced persons in matters such as education, health, youth issues and training.

In February, the the ICRC completed the first phase of a project to build a space on the premises of the Fundación San Filipe de Neri in Bogotá for workshops offering training to people disabled by landmines and other explosive devices.

 
Health 
 

In the first quarter of 2009, the ICRC provided economic assistance to 200 people who had been affected by the armed conflict. These included people injured by landmines, explosive remnants of war or other weapons, and victims of sexual violence. They benefited from medical treatment and rehabilitation.

 
Protection 
 

Between January and March 2009 the ICRC collected and delivered 18 Red Cross messages, which contain news of a purely personal and family nature. These enabled hostages and detainees to get back in contact with their relatives.

ICRC delegates also visited people deprived of their freedom in connection with the conflict and assessed their detention conditions and treatment.

 
Weapon contamination 
 

With support from the Colombian Red Cross, the ICRC organized 28 community talks in various cities around the country. These talks provided inform ation on safe behaviour in areas contaminated by anti-personnel landmines, improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war.