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Côte d'Ivoire : Red Cross steps up aid

24-10-2002 News Release 02/43

To meet the most urgent needs of civilians trapped in Bouaké, the ICRC dispatched a fresh convoy on 18 October to bring food, medical supplies, and chemicals for the water-treatment plant there. A new Red Cross ambulance was also part of the convoy.

Five days earlier the ICRC had begun sending in food aid (rice, cooking oil, sardines and salt provided by the World Food Programme, as well as powdered milk) to a variety of institutions (social-welfare centres, hospitals, orphanages, centres for leprosy victims, etc.) and poor neighbourhoods such as Tola-Kouadiokro and Broukro. This aid was aimed at helping some 10,000 of the most vulnerable people in the city.

Since an ICRC team has been based in Bouaké, the Red Cross Society of Côte d'Ivoire has been able to expand and step up its work to help people there. Red Cross mobile clinics give some 150 consultations a day in various parts of the city and take the most serious cases to hospital.

In order to prevent the outbreak of diseases caused by poor hygiene conditions, Red Cross workers are now carrying out garbage collection, which had been interrupted since the events began. The Red Cross is also burying bodies or returning them where possible to next of kin.

Further north, the ICRC has provided medical supplies (emergency kits, bandage sets, etc.) for the general hospital in Ferkéssedougou and the regional hospital in Korhogo.

In Daloa, the Côte d'Ivoire Red Cross has sent first-aid workers to bring injured people to the city's regional hospital and provided that facility with medical supplies.

The ICRC has noted misuse of the red cross emblem. The emblem's role as a protective device is strictly regulated so that those in need can be helped and those coming to their aid in war zones can do so freely and without fear that they themselves will be targeted or confused with combata nts. The only entities authorized to use the red cross emblem are military medical services, National Red Cross Societies and staff of the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.