Attacks on health-care workers and medical facilities in conflicts and violent upheavals across the world are affecting millions, according to a new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The report, presented in Geneva, 10 August 2011, is based on research in 16 countries over 3 years since 2008. This is the first time such an investigation has been conducted on an international scale.
The floods that struck Pakistan in July 2010 went on for almost three months wiping out villages from the far north to the deep south of the country. Considered to be one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent times, around 11 million people were left homeless and 2,000 killed.
In June 2007, the Israeli authorities announced the suspension of family visits for Palestinians from Gaza who were being held in Israel. This decision, which was made a year after Palestinian armed groups captured the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, deprives both the detainees and their relatives of an essential lifeline, and cuts detainees off from the outside world. In the past four years, over 700 families from Gaza have been prevented from seeing their detained relatives.
2010 to 2011 have seen a major series of crises which have affected ever increasing numbers of people. Demand for humanitarian assistance has reached an unprecedented level at a time when long term conflicts continue unabated, according to the ICRC's Annual Report launched in Geneva today (26th May 2011).
As a result of the recent and ongoing fighting in Libya, unexploded weapons left from the conflict are a major hazard for the country's civilian population. Unexploded ordnance and armoured vehicles, including rockets, shells and mortars, are strewn across public places and residential areas in Misrata, Ajdabiya and Benghazi. The risk for civilians is high.
More than thirty years of war and internal conflict in Iraq has left a legacy of despair. Millions of men and women are unable to care for themselves or their families because they have been severely disabled or have lost their main means of support. Despite the efforts of the government to provide social welfare programmes, many of these people do not get the support required to stay afloat.
Today the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) evacuated more than 600 civilians from the city in western Libya. This was the fourth rotation of an ICRC-chartered boat to evacuate mainly foreign nationals stranded in dire conditions. In total the ICRC evacuated more than 2300 civilians mainly from Niger, Chad, Mali, Ghana, Sudan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, and Morocco, in addition to Libyan nationals.
At over 3.5 million people, Colombia has one of the biggest displaced populations in the world. In a 'forgotten conflict' that has rumbled on for 5 decades, civilians often get caught up in the crossfire.