Fighting in Somalia causes heavy casualties
27-12-2006 News Release 06/148
Geneva (ICRC) – The worst fighting in a decade in central and southern Somalia has caused hundreds of casualties and is forcing thousands to flee their homes towards safer ground.
Over the past few days, hospitals and other medical facilities in the area have admitted more than 800 wounded people. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided a number of medical facilities treating the injured with first-aid kits and surgical supplies from stocks pre-positioned in Somalia prior to the outbreak of the hostilities.
The ICRC is extremely concerned about civilians caught up in the fighting, wounded people and people detained in connection with the fighting. Once again it calls on all parties involved to spare civilians and to ensure that captured and wounded fighters are treated humanely and receive adequate medical attention, and that medical staff, hospitals and clinics are respected and protected.
“In cooperation with Somali Red Crescent Society staff, our people are working tirelessly to assist the civilian population and wounded persons throughout the area,” said Pascal Hundt, head of the ICRC’s Somalia delegation. “We are urging all parties to ensure that medical staff and humanitarian workers can perform their tasks freely and safely.”
The ICRC has regular contacts with all parties to the conflict. It has received assurances that it can safely operate throughout Somalia and that its planes can land there. An ICRC cargo plane flew to Bardera twice today to deliver relief for victims of the floods that recently devastated the area. In the coming days, ICRC aircraft will fly to several destinations in Somalia to deliver surgical and other medical supplies.
The ICRC is one of the few humanitarian organizations working in Somalia. Each year it distributes relief to more than 500,000 peopl e displaced by the protracted conflict and implements over 300 water, health and agricultural projects. In central and southern Somalia the ICRC supports a number of medical facilities, including three hospitals in Mogadishu and 23 clinics run by the Somali Red Crescent Society. It provides these facilities with surgical equipment, medicines and training for doctors and nurses.
The ICRC has been carrying out humanitarian activities in Somalia since 1977. It currently has 54 staff there, including 17 expatriates.For further information, please contact:
Pédram Yazdi, ICRC Somalia (in Nairobi), tel : +254 20 2723 963 or +254 722 51 81 42
Nicole Engelbrecht, ICRC Nairobi, tel : +254 20 2723 963 or +254 722 51 27 28
Claudia McGoldrick, ICRC Geneva, tel : +41 22 730 20 63 or +41 79 217 32 16