The ICRC is mobilising its resources to assist the victims of the recent fighting in Croatia.
06-08-1995 News Release 95/36
Faced with the massive flow of refugees from Knin and Petrinja, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has concentrated its resources in the Banja Luka region where its delegates have so far been able to provide some 40.000 people with food and toiletry. The Serb authorities have also notified the ICRC delegation in Banja Luka that they may expect the arrival of between 150.000 and 200.000 other refugees in the area.
According to Pierre Krähenbühl, head of the ICRC delegation in Banja Luka, the refugees " arrived in cars and buses; they are extremely tired and tense and the main priority at the moment is to provide them with food " . For the time being, ICRC stocks on the spot are sufficient to meet the immediate needs of 50.000 people for a week as well as provide for a soup-kitchen. The ICRC is currently organising an increase of its emergency stocks so to be able to cope with the new emergency situation.
On the medical side, the ICRC is providing medicine and surgical equipment to the hospitals in Banja Luka and Petrovac as well as to the field hospital established on the banks of the Una river at Novi. The ICRC Banja Luka delegation, which has 17 expatriates and 70 local employees, has recorded the presence of a number of wounded people among the refugees. Also in Banja Luka, the ICRC has set up drinking water distribution points.
In Krajina itself (at Knin and Vojnic), the ICRC has enough emergency stocks to provide 30.000 people with food and basic necessities.
In Knin, the ICRC team, composed of five people, has set itself the priority task to visit Sunday (6/8) the town's hospital so to assess the nature and scope of the needs. Also, the United Nation's contingent in Knin has asked the ICRC to come and attend to the dozens of wounded who were evacuated from the city's hospital to the UN compound during the fighting.
Finally, the Croatian authorities have informed the ICRC of the capture of dozens of prisoners during the recent fighting and has authorised the ICRC to visit them.