ICRC President calls for international support for Afghanistan.
During a four-day visit to Afghanistan, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, has called on the international community to continue to provide humanitarian support for Afghanistan. Mr Maurer said, ‘Funding that ensures health care, clean water and schools can help pull Afghan families from misery’s depths. It’s crucial that the international community finds solutions, even if temporary, to ensure continued funding.’
(Full statement click here.)
During his visit Mr Maurer saw the work of ICRC-supported hospitals, health centres and physical rehabilitation units in Kabul and Lashkar Gah, in which people wounded in conflict are treated and fitted with prosthetic limbs. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been present in Afghanistan since 1987, assisting victims of conflict that whole time.
Our experience shows that even years after fighting has come to a halt, people will continue to be injured by old mines and IEDs. The ICRC's orthopaedic work, which began in Kabul in 1988, has grown massively over the years. About one-quarter of patients are amputees – mostly victims of mines and explosive remnants of war – while the rest include sufferers of polio, spinal injuries, congenital deformities, cerebral palsy and accident victims. Most will need treatment for many years, some for the rest of their lives.
The ICRC is not evacuating or withdrawing staff from Afghanistan. We remain operational across the country, together with our partner the Afghan Red Crescent Society.
· Our seven rehabilitation/orthopedic facilities in Kabul, Jalalabad, Gulbar, Faizabad, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, and Lashkar Gah assisted 80,000 patients in the first half of the year; 14,000 were women. 7,000 new patients were registered between January to June. 700 had suffered amputated limbs.
· Last month the ICRC doubled the number of health facilities we support to 89 clinics and mobile health teams, up from 46, in addition to two hospitals, one in Kandahar and the other in Kabul.
· The ICRC currently has a team of over 1,800 staff across the country.
For further information, please contact:
Crystal Wells (English), ICRC Geneva, firstname.lastname@example.org or +41 796 42 8056
Florian Seriex (French), ICRC Geneva, email@example.com , +41 79 574 06 36
Anita Dullard (English), ICRC Bangkok, firstname.lastname@example.org , +66 659 562 064
Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. A neutral, independent and impartial organization, its mandate stems from the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
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Location: Lashkar Gah, Kabul (ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Unit)