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Pakistan: ICRC president visits to engage in dialogue and assess humanitarian situation

29-04-2009 News Release 09/85

Geneva/Islamabad (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, is meeting with senior officials and military authorities in Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad to discuss the humanitarian situation and ICRC activities in Pakistan and the region.

Mr Kellenberger will also inaugurate the ICRC's new field hospital in Peshawar, built and run with the support of the Finnish Red Cross, and meet weapon-wounded patients undergoing treatment there. The ICRC president will also visit internally displaced people (IDPs) in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) who have been assisted by the ICRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.

" The ICRC's neutral and independent humanitarian approach has enabled it to bring significant benefits to those in need: over the past year the organization has more than doubled the number of people it assists in Pakistan, " said Mr Kellenberger. " But there are still far too many people affected by the conflict and insecurity who have insufficient access to health care and water. The ICRC would like to do more to help them. "

Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by armed conflict and insecurity in NWFP and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). ICRC teams, composed of both international and Pakistani staff, have been regularly providing humanitarian assistance to the population in particularly affected areas such as Dir and Swat. Working closely with the Pakistan Red Crescent, the ICRC has assisted over 100,000 displaced persons, providing medical care, relief aid, food, water and sanitation. The ICRC has also been monitoring the living conditions and treatment of security detainees.

In light of the humanitarian problems in Pakistan, the budget of the ICRC delegation has practically doubled since 2008, reaching nearly 45 million US dollars. The delegation employs 100 international staff and nearly 800 national staff. I t has offices in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Muzaffarabad, Karachi and Lahore.

See also: ICRC activities in Pakistan since August 2008  
For further information, please contact:
  Sébastien Brack, ICRC Islamabad, tel: +92 300 850 81 38
  Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Islamabad (Urdu), tel: +92 300 850 56 93
  Simon Schorno, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 93 02