Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

Pakistan: ICRC activities to continue on reduced scale

Publisher International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Publication Date 28 August 2012
Cite as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Pakistan: ICRC activities to continue on reduced scale, 28 August 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/504dc5352.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Haram Yakub, 25, sits on a hospital bed holding her infant daughter to her breast. After more than a week of being unable to keep anything down due to diarrhoea, 11-month-old Nancy begins to feed.

Watching Nancy rally in South Sudan's Yusif Batil camp is a relief. But Yakub's trauma remains. It is a fear so powerful that she can only remember little things; that she was once a farmer in her hometown of Jam in Sudan's Blue Nile state. She remembers that Nancy has been receiving treatment for eight days in the hospital's stabilization centre.

At the camp's play centre, a young girl dances with her friends, singing about how the people of her village in Sudan had to flee the conflict. Suddenly, she grows weak and faints.

She has had a thorn in her ankle since she made the journey across the Sudan-South Sudan border several months ago. The leg is infected and bright yellow puss can be seen underneath her skin. She too suffers from diarrhoea. Nearby, a teacher brings her child with her to class. The baby is also recovering from the ailment. The teacher gives her water mixed with oral rehydration salts.

At a mobile health clinic, health workers take the weight and height of children. Many show symptoms of malaria, others are malnourished or with diarrhoea. Some have all three. Some of the clinic staff as well as workers with UNHCR and other organizations are also suffering from the dangerous health condition.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), following a thorough review of its activities undertaken after the April 2012 murder in Quetta of Khalil Rasjed Dale, an ICRC health programme manager, has reiterated its commitment to carry on with its work in Pakistan but on a reduced scale.

"We are ready to continue helping people in need, such as the wounded and the physically disabled, provided working conditions for our staff are adequate," explained Paul Castella, head of the ICRC delegation in Islamabad.

"In the coming weeks, we will coordinate with the Pakistani authorities the resumption of health services as conditions permit, in particular the re-opening of our surgical hospital in Peshawar, which closed down after the murder of our colleague," he added.

The ICRC's partnership with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and support for physical rehabilitation services, notably in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, will continue, as will the assistance provided by the ICRC for families seeking to restore and maintain contact with Pakistanis detained abroad. The ICRC will also maintain logistics assets in the country to support its operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and throughout the region.

The ICRC has decided to terminate all other activities for people affected by the current situation in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. All visits to detainees in Pakistan will also stop. As a result, the organization's offices in Sindh province, where flood recovery work is now complete, and in Quetta are being closed.

"Having worked in Pakistan for more than 60 years, we are aware that some of these decisions will affect vulnerable people in some areas," said Mr Castella. "But we need to take into account the challenges faced by our staff and adjust our activities accordingly."

The ICRC has been working in Pakistan since 1947, providing health care, physical rehabilitation and other assistance for people affected by violence and natural disasters.

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