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Mexico: ICRC phases out humanitarian aid in Chiapas

30-06-2004 News Release 04/76

As the emergency situation in Chiapas no longer prevails, the ICRC is today bringing to an end the humanitarian activities it has been conducting there for the past ten years in aid of displaced persons and residents.

This southern Mexican state was the scene of violent clashes between 1994 and 1998. From the outbreak of the violence the ICRC, in coordination with the Mexican Red Cross and later with the Spanish and German Red Cross Societies, carried out various assistance programmes for the population.

At first, the focus was on emergency activities such as helping the wounded and sick and distributing food. In a second stage, seed and tools were provided for the implementation of agricultural programmes and preventive measures were stepped up. Lastly, opportunities were created for productive work, so that the beneficiaries could meet their own basic needs in terms of food and earn an income from the sale of their produce.

" To avoid dependency on aid, ICRC assistance includes setting up agricultural and other productive programmes in which community participation and support are crucial " , explained Adolfo Beteta of the ICRC delegation in Mexico.

Between 1998 and 2003, the ICRC distributed some 8,000 tonnes of food to displaced people, who numbered about 10,000 at first and 4,500 in December of last year. A total of 4,331 families benefited from agricultural programmes and 91,800 medical consultations were given.

Application of the plan of action for the termination or handover of programmes began in December 2003. The ICRC helped to set up a community store, to install a cold chain in nine clinics and to increase the capacity of six health posts. From now on, it will be more appropriate for organizations specializing in long-term programmes to conduct activities in the area.

The ICRC will closely monitor the situation in Chiapas from its regional delegation in Mexico City.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Adolfo Beteta or Jaime Arroyo, ICRC Mexico City, tel. ++5255 52 55 43 55  

 Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 2458/++41 79 217 3224