The International Committee of the Red Cross says it will send surgeons, medical and other supplies to help treat war victims in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from ICRC headquarters in Geneva.
A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross tells VOA the agency plans to charter a plane to fly a surgical team to Gori, Georgia in the coming days. Anna Schaaf says the plane also will carry 15 tons of water treatment equipment and medical aid.
She says the supplies will provide clean water for 20,000 people and medicine for about 400 wounded. She says the doctors will remain in Georgia along with other Red Cross staff, until they are able to get into South Ossetia.
"We have two teams who have tried since Friday to go from Tblisi to South Ossetia, but the security situation is still very bad, and so it was not possible for this team to go into South Ossetia," she said. "They are at the moment in Gori, which is just south of the border [of South Ossetia], and we are hoping as soon as possible to be able to go inside to South Ossetia."
Schaaf says Red Cross staff members in South Ossetia were forced to leave because of the fighting. And, since the agency has no one on the ground, she says, the Red Cross cannot confirm how many people have been killed and wounded.
The Red Cross is renewing its call for a humanitarian corridor to enable aid workers to go into the conflict zone to pick up the dead and treat the wounded. The UN refugee agency says reports from Moscow and Tblisi, the capital of Georgia, indicate the two governments will open two humanitarian corridors.