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Occupied and autonomous territories: ICRC and Palestine Red Crescent Society sign new cooperation agreement

04-04-2003 News Release 03/35

The President of the Palestine Red Crescent (PRCS), Younis Al-Khatib, and the ICRC head of delegation, François Bellon, yesterday signed a new cooperation agreement for 2003. The two organizations first formalized their cooperation in 1992, and have since developed this cooperation substantially.

Expanding the capacity of the PRCS and enhancing respect for its medical activities are two of the ICRC's most important activities in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories. " This cooperation has one central purpose " , says François Bellon, " to prevent and alleviate suffering, without discrimination, and to protect human dignity. "

The 2003 cooperation agreement involves vital support for PRCS activities, including:

  • The Emergency Medical Service (EMS), which the ICRC has been supporting since 1996. The EMS now boasts a fleet of over 100 ambulances, with 15 EMS stations and 17 sub-stations. Emergency medical technicians receive on-going training, plus support in coping with the stress of the current situation. The EMS service will be re-launched in 2003, with newly painted and repaired ambulances. In parallel with the re-launch, a media campaign will promote respect for the emblem and correct use of the emergency number, 101.

  • The Disaster Management Programme, which enables the PRCS to respond to both conflict-related emergencies and natural disasters. Sub-warehouses in Nablus and Hebron will be re-stocked and the logistics capacity of the PRCS expanded.

  • Dissemination, which includes training up to 400 staff and volunteers of the PRCS and other local organizations in international humanitarian law. It also involves training PRCS volunteer teams on precautions to take in areas where there is a danger of unexploded ordnance and improvized explosive devices.

  • Integration of the PRCS into the tracing network of the Internat ional Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This network re-establishes family links during conflicts and natural disasters.

  • The ICRC coordinates the activities of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories, and works together with National Societies that are supporting the PRCS.

 Further information: Ronald Ofteringer, ICRC Jerusalem ++972 2 582 8441 Ext. 109 / ++972 52 95 63 71  

 Iyad Nasr, ICRC Gaza, ++970 8 282 8874 / ++970 59 77 19 48  

 Uriel Masad, ICRC Tel Aviv, ++972 3 524 5286 / ++972 64 68 14 55