Iraq: Medical supplies reach Fallujah
05-06-2014 News Release 14/95
Geneva/Baghdad (ICRC) – Staff from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have delivered badly needed medical supplies to the main hospital in Fallujah. Because of persistent heavy fighting between government forces and armed groups, this is the first time ICRC personnel have managed to enter the city since January. They found immense needs and a situation that is extremely dire. People in the city are living through a terrible ordeal.
A boy receives treatment at a hospital in the city of Fallujah. ©Reuters.
"We have been trying hard to bring aid to Fallujah and its hospital for the past few months, but have not been able to get there because of intense fighting," said Patricia Guiote, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Baghdad, who led the five-person team into the city. "The situation is very worrying. People are enduring a severe shortage of food, water and health care. Services at the hospital, which is the only facility still able to provide treatment for the injured and the sick, have been seriously affected by the fighting."
In close coordination with the Ministry of Health, ICRC staff delivered basic medical supplies needed to treat patients suffering from burns or other injuries. "The medical items delivered were immediately used to treat casualties, so more supplies are needed," said Ms Guiote. "With the overall situation in Fallujah remaining extremely volatile, the hospital staff have been doing a remarkable job."
The delivery of supplies to the hospital took place with the agreement of all parties involved in the fighting in Fallujah. The ICRC is hopeful that it will be able to return to the city to provide further support for the health and water services and to bring in food and essential relief items for civilians.
The heavy fighting in Al Anbar, which has been going on unabated since December 2013, has resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people within the province and to other parts of Iraq. Large numbers of civilians are still trapped in Fallujah owing to the fighting. The ICRC is providing humanitarian assistance for people fleeing the clashes. So far, it has distributed food and other essentials to more than 100,000 people displaced throughout the country.
The ICRC is reminding all parties involved in the hostilities of their obligation under international humanitarian law to spare civilians and civilian objects, and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people who need it. Everyone who is wounded or sick must be granted prompt and safe access to health care. Medical facilities must be protected and respected, and every effort must be made to ensure that medical personnel can carry out their activities unhindered.
For further information, please contact:
Saleh Dabbakeh, ICRC Baghdad, tel: +964 790 191 6927
Sitara Jabeen, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 78 or +41 79 536 92 31