News / Middle East

Red Cross: Humanitarian Aid Hampered by Violence in Syria

In this still image taken from video protesters in a Damascus suburb purportedly carry a wounded comrade Friday, December 30, 2011. Image content not independently verifiable.
In this still image taken from video protesters in a Damascus suburb purportedly carry a wounded comrade Friday, December 30, 2011. Image content not independently verifiable.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Schlein

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it is concerned about the escalating violence in Syria. The aid organization says it is particularly worried that the wounded and sick are unable to get access to medical care.

The ICRC says the situation in Syria is continuing to deteriorate. It says violence is taking a heavy toll, leaving hundreds of people dead or wounded. And, many protestors are being detained by the Syrian military.

Hicham Hassan, the ICRC spokesman for the Near and Middle East, told VOA the agency’s main concern remains the obstacles faced by wounded and sick people to gain access to medical care.

“People are more afraid to seek medical help in any place. So they really have to be selective out of fear for their own security," he said. "And medical staff and health staff are still finding difficulties to reach all persons at the right moment at a time where being late for 10 minutes or being on time could save a man’s life. If some person is wounded, which is the case for thousands of people since the end of March in Syria, and who have not received the necessary care, then they have lost their lives because of that, obviously.”  

The Swiss humanitarian organization has been in Syria for more than 40 years, mainly to aid the population of the occupied Golan.  But, its activities now have expanded to assist people affected by the internal violence.

Fifteen ICRC expatriate staff are working together with some 65 colleagues from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Hicham Hassan says the Syrian volunteers are working non-stop to provide medical and food aid to people in particularly difficult and risky circumstances.

Hassan says that with rising needs, the ICRC is concerned the arrival of winter will make living conditions even worse for the civilian population.

“Already there have been problems for people who are gaining their daily wages in a very difficult way. And today, with winter they will need more fuel. They will need more income to actually be able to take care of their families. Schools are there as well. So the needs are increasing significantly as the violence is also increasing. And, this is a main preoccupation for us now.”  

The Red Cross spokesman says sanctions imposed on Syria by various countries also are making the lives of ordinary people more difficult.

The ICRC says it remains concerned about the situation of thousands of detainees.  In September, Red Cross delegates visited the Damascus Central Prison at Adraa. There have been no follow-up visits.

Hassan says the Red Cross will not visit detainees unless the Syrian authorities agree to a certain set of conditions. This is still under negotiation. He says Red Cross delegates must be allowed to tour the premises, to talk in private with the detainees of their choice, and to repeat visits as often as necessary.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid