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Eritrea-Ethiopia: Delegates visit civilian internees in Ethiopia and step up aid to victims

26-06-1998 News Release 98/25

On Saturday 20 June, the ICRC for the first time visited several hundred civilian internees being held at the Fiche camp in Ethiopia. The visit, which is still going on, is being conducted in accordance with standard working procedures. It became possible after the ICRC approached the parties to the conflict and reminded them of the rules of international humanitarian law applicable to civilian internees. The organization is continuing to request access to all prisoners of war and civilian internees.

The ICRC and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society have conducted surveys in the Tigre and Afar regions to assess the need for assistance to the wounded and the displaced.

As a result, the two organizations delivered blankets, tents, cooking utensils, jerrycans and soap to local Red Cross branches in both areas, and medical supplies to hospitals and dispensaries. The ICRC and the National Society also placed ambulances at the disposal of local Red Cross branches and provided tanker trucks to transport drinking water. Meanwhile, Ethiopian Red Cross volunteers began distributing food and registering displaced persons.

In Eritrea, the ICRC and the Red Cross Society of Eritrea have transported food supplies (high-protein biscuits, sugar and flour), blankets, cooking utensils and other relief items to regional National Society offices, together with medical supplies for first aid.

Working in close conjunction with both National Societies, the ICRC is setting up a tracing network to restore contact between members of families dispersed by the conflict and people who hav e been expelled.