Red Cross Deeply Concerned over Situation in Syria | Editor's Choice | Ammon News

Red Cross Deeply Concerned over Situation in Syria

[12/3/2011 12:00:00 AM]

By Riham Fakhoury

AMMONNEWS - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed deep concern over the impact of the continued and escalation of violence in Syria on whole population.

Béatrice Mégevand-Roggo, the ICRC's head of operations for the Near and Middle East, said that with the continuing violence, in Syria recently, especially in the city of Homs, is a source of great concern to the Committee.

She explained, in remarks published on the ICRC website: "There is no doubt the Syrians are suffering from the results of the ongoing violence, and reported that the death toll and the number of wounded and prisoners are increasing.”

She noted "the huge differences in the situations in various parts of Syria make it difficult to generalize about the country as a whole". She added "when I was in Damascus a few weeks back, it seemed to me that daily life was normal and that people were going about their daily business as usual, even though, economically speaking, the crisis was already having an impact on the capital as well".

She explained with each day of violence civilians are edging closer to a dangerous humanitarian situation which will have long-term repercussions.

“Obviously, it is the casualty toll that is most worrying, but let's not forget that the economy, education and essential services in a number of areas have been badly affected since the beginning of the unrest,” she said.

The committee announced two weeks that since the outbreak of the events in Syria in March it has been monitoring the crossing of Syrian refugees to the kingdom through the constant visits to the border areas between the two countries.

Mégevand-Roggo visited cities of Hama and Homs, after the last week of a wave of violence that erupted in the latter, and stated that the situation had become very difficult for the people in some parts of the city, which almost cut off from the outside world.

The ICRC's priority is always to think about victims first, this means that our main focus is on assessing the situation and assisting accordingly and in the fastest manner.

She said together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, we have managed since the first weeks of the violence to assist people in affected areas such as Idlib, Homs, Dera'a, Deir-Ez-Zor, Al-Bukamal, Rural Damascus governorate, Hama and Latakia.

The ICRC has even been to some areas, like Homs and Idlib, several times. “However, these visits have not been sufficient to enable us to do all that we wanted to do at a time when our services are needed the most”, Mégevand-Roggo said.

She noted that emergency health-care services and, especially, first aid and medical evacuations provided by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have saved many lives. However, the Red Crescent volunteers take considerable risks carrying out their humanitarian activities.

The mission of the Red Cross in Amman announced its readiness to adapt to the situation in case of an escalation of violence in Syria, because it has a regional logistics center, which supports other operations such as Iraq, Lebanon and the occupied territories.

Mégevand-Roggo said there have been reports of medical and other health-care staff being deliberately prevented from performing their tasks of evacuating the injured and providing first aid and other medical attention for those who need it. She stressed that such obstructions are not acceptable, because providing health care for the wounded and the sick, no matter which they may be, is a basic humanitarian requirement.

She fears the deterioration of the situation in some areas, in cities like Homs and Idlib and Damascus countryside and the provinces of Hama, because it would lead to soaring demand for the needs of especially essential goods such as food, drinking water, and access the emergency medical facilities, and if this happened and got an imbalance in the health care available in assistance, it will be more severe impact on the population.

“We will continue to work with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to meet the most urgent needs, in addition to support for health care facilities at all, private, public and branches of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent”, she said.

“There is a need to provide services to those affected in time and space required, and without any delay, appreciating, Security risks that stand in the way our work is that we have the desire to expand our activities in the case of the minimum acceptable conditions,” she added.

The ICRC official revealed that for the first time since (44) years of the Commission's work in Syria, it was allowed in September to enter a detention center in the central prison in Damascus, and “we hope that this visit will be the first step.”

The ICRC is visiting detention centers according to strict procedures allow them to configure a clear idea of the situation inside the detention centers, and must, for example, interview all detainees and talk to any detainee of them individually and visit all the facilities.

She stressed that the ICRC's objectives are exclusively humanitarian; the organization's visits to detainees do not confer any special status on the detainees visited.

“The visits do not constitute interference in a State's internal affairs, as they are agreed upon with the authorities concerned. ICRC findings are shared with the authorities on a strictly bilateral and confidential basis with the aim of improving the situation where needed”, Mégevand-Roggo explained.

The committee announced two weeks contingency plans in case of a large influx of Syrian refugees, fleeing the violence, into Jordan. Since the outbreak of the events in Syria in March the ICRC has been monitoring the crossing of Syrian refugees to the kingdom through constant visits to the border areas between the two countries.

  • 1 raja 12/3/2011 3:01:16 PM

    Good job Riham.....great writing as always....keep up the good work and best of luck in all you do. R

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