Kabul/Geneva (ICRC) – Since intense fighting broke out four days ago in Ghazni, Central Afghanistan, the International Committee of the Red Cross has provided dressing packages and oral and intravenous medicine to treat wounded at the provincial hospital. The ICRC also urgently responded with the life-saving supply of fresh water and electricity for surgeries of the wounded, and delivered material for the management of mortal remains.
"Our teams have used every opportunity to support the local hospital, and we'll continue to assist as long as the needs are there and the conditions allow," said the head of delegation of the ICRC in Afghanistan, Juan Pedro Schaerer.
The fighting in Ghazni began last Friday and intensified during the weekend. The telecommunications system is down and there is no electricity supply. Some people have managed to leave the city, while others have taken shelter in their homes. Food and water have become scarce. Casualties have been reported on a daily basis, but the numbers are still uncertain.
"The hospital is still receiving wounded and more can be expected from the outskirts of the city in the coming days," explained the head of the ICRC sub-delegation for Central Afghanistan, Scott Doucet.
Around 20% of the population in Ghazni depend on the city water system, which has been down since the beginning of fighting. The ICRC is organizing an emergency water trucking to cover the needs of around 18,000 people.
Today, with the support of the volunteers of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, the bodies of dead persons are beginning to be collected and transported to their families, the hospital or military bases. The ARCS has also sent 500 additional hygiene packages and 250 coffins.
"Our concern is the protection of civilians and that all wounded are able to access medical care. Health workers and health facilities must also be respected and protected," said Schaerer.
For more information, please contact:
Andrea Catta Preta (English, Spanish and Portuguese), ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 729 140 510
Siavash Kohzad, (Dari and Pashto), ICRC Kabul, tel: +93 707 107070
Sanela Bajrambasic, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 32 17