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Pakistan: ICRC hands over physical rehabilitation centre

11-12-2013 News Release 13/813

Islamabad/Muzaffarabad (ICRC) – More than six years after it was set up by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Centre has become an autonomous body through an act of the Legislative Assembly of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The centre will continue to provide services under the supervision of its board of directors for people disabled by mines, bomb blasts, diseases, natural disasters and other hazards. The ICRC will continue to provide the centre with financial and technical support.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Sardar Yaqub Khan, the president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, expressed his gratitude to the ICRC for its long-term commitment to the people of Kashmir.

"The Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Centre is a valuable gift from the ICRC to the people of Kashmir. The government will lend every possible support to the centre to ensure the continuity of physical rehabilitation services for disabled people,'' said Mr Khan. He also praised the staff at the centre for their tireless efforts in behalf of disabled people over the years, and encouraged them to continue the good work in the future.

The Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Centre was set up by the ICRC in July 2007, initially to assist the earthquake-affected people of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Since its inauguration, it has provided more than 26,000 physically disabled people from across Pakistan with artificial limbs and physiotherapy. In addition, the centre also provides supporting devices for upper- and lower-limb amputees, mobility aids such as crutches, walkers and wheelchairs – designed to meet the needs of individual patients – as well as user training. It also deals with disabilities caused by polio, congenital deformities, clubfoot, spine problems, paralyses of limbs and cerebral palsy.

"The ICRC has fulfilled its commitment to set up and operate the centre and hand it over to the people of this region," said Anthony Duncan Dalziel, the ICRC's head of operations for South Asia, who is in Pakistan on a working visit. "Not only does the centre provide physical rehabilitation services, it also symbolizes the strong relationship between the ICRC and the people of Pakistan."

The ICRC, which also supports other physical rehabilitation centres across Pakistan, has been providing rehabilitation services in more than 40 countries for over 30 years.

For further information, please contact:
Arshad Yusufzai, ICRC Islamabad, tel: +92 302 820 9760
Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 93 02