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Myanmar: ICRC expands presence in Kachin state

05-03-2014 News Release

Yangon (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will open a new office in Kachin state on 6 March, with a view to increasing the reach of its humanitarian activities in the area. The office in Myitkyina will be the ICRC’s sixth in Myanmar.

The ICRC has been conducting humanitarian activities in both government- and non-government controlled areas of Kachin state for the last 12 months, but has not had a permanent presence there until now.

"This office will bring us closer to the disabled people who need access to the physical rehabilitation services we provide," said Claudia Matter, head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Mandalay. "It will make us more responsive with our health activities in different areas of the state, and it will also allow us to work in closer cooperation with Myanmar Red Cross Society branches in Kachin, where we jointly provide aid to communities displaced by fighting."

As a trusted, non-political humanitarian organization working in situations of conflict throughout the world, the ICRC is accustomed to performing its tasks in areas under the control of different parties.

In addition to opening the new office, the ICRC is finalizing plans to expand its support to Myanmar's civil physical rehabilitation centre network by establishing a centre adjacent to Myitkyina hospital. The ICRC currently supports two centres in the country: one run by the Myanmar Red Cross in Hpa-an, and one run by the Ministry of Health in Yenanthar, north of Mandalay. Thousands of disabled people, more than 40 per cent of them mine victims, benefit from physical rehabilitation services at the ICRC-supported centres each year.

With the agreement of the office of Myanmar's president, the organization has already started a 15-month health facility renovation and training programme in non-government-controlled areas of Kachin state.

The ICRC has maintained a permanent presence in Myanmar since 1986. Alongside the delegation located in Yangon, the ICRC has offices in Mandalay, Hpa-an, Sittwe and Mrauk-U. The organization's activities assist victims of armed conflict and communal violence, and other disadvantaged communities.

For further information, please contact:
Michael O'Brien, ICRC Yangon, tel: +95 9 420 107 606

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