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.
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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid