Afghanistan: Physiotherapist who helps amputee patients shot and killed

11 September 2017

Geneva/Kabul (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross is deeply saddened by the fatal shooting on Monday of one of its physiotherapists in Afghanistan.

Lorena Enebral Perez, 38, a Spanish national, was in the ICRC's rehabilitation centre in Mazar-e-Sharif when she was shot, apparently by a patient. Lorena's work involved helping children, women and men who lost legs or arms or with many other forms of disability to learn how to walk again or feed themselves.

"Energetic and full of laughter, Lorena was the heart of our office in Mazar. Today, our hearts are broken," said the ICRC's head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli. "Lorena was a skilled and caring physiotherapist who assisted patients, especially children. The violent fluctuations of life seem particularly cruel today."

Lorena was remembered by colleagues as having a wide smile and radiant attitude, a professional dedicated to her job and her patients. Afghan authorities have notified the ICRC that the gunman has been arrested.

The ICRC's physical rehabilitation work in Afghanistan helps people without limbs and with many other disabilities live an active life through physical rehabilitation, education, employment, and sport. Our seven rehabilitation centres manufacture more than 19,000 artificial legs, arms and other orthopedic devices a year and treat hundreds of thousands of patients.

The shooting death of Lorena follows the killings in February of six ICRC staff shot in northern Afghanistan; two were abducted in that attack. Her death comes six days after their release following close to seven months in captivity, and three days after an ICRC truck driver was shot and killed in South Sudan. This string of shootings not only angers and saddens the ICRC community but also underscores the real dangers our workforce faces around the world.

ICRC staff this year have taken part in a public campaign to remind everyone that our staff are humanitarian workers who seek only to improve the lives of victims of war. We repeat that campaign's message today: We are #NotATarget.

For further information please contact:

Thomas Glass, ICRC Kabul (English), tel: +93 (0) 729 140 510
Ahmad Ramin Ayaz, ICRC Kabul (Dari and Pashto), tel: +93 (0) 794 618 908
Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva (English, French, Russian), tel: +41 79 251 93 02
Jennifer Tobias, ICRC Geneva (Spanish), tel: + 41 79 218 76 10