19 August 2013
For further information contact:
Penny Sims 020 7877 7044 / PSims@redcross.org.uk
On call mobile: 0771 0391703
The British Red Cross is calling for respect for aid workers in Syria.
Since hostilities began, twenty Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff and volunteers have been killed, others have been shot at, and ambulances have been fired upon or in some cases stolen. As a consequence, paramedic volunteers are going into some areas on foot instead of in ambulances, which might become a target.
Katy Attfield, Head of Disaster Management for the British Red Cross, said:
“The death of even one volunteer is too many. Last year we reported that five Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers had been killed. One year on, the total is now twenty.”
“The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are among the only agencies presently able to work across frontlines in Syria. These staff and volunteers are risking their lives daily to bring aid into areas where people often lack even the most basic essentials – water, food, and medical help. When aid workers are targeted, it becomes impossible for the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent to continue these activities, leaving large numbers of sick and wounded without treatment.”
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is highlighting the plight of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent on World Humanitarian Day and asking all involved in the conflict to respect the relevant rules of international humanitarian law, the distinctive emblems of the red cross and red crescent and the humanitarian mission of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement..
There have been a number of attacks in recent months, including:
• On 28 July, nine Red Crescent volunteers, two staff and three citizens were injured in a mortar shelling at the distribution point in al-Qusayr.
• On 4 August, a first aid point in Tijara was hit by a mortar and two Red Crescent volunteers were rushed to hospital.
• In May, the ambulance garage on a Red Crescent branch in Homs was attacked, taking all six ambulances out of action.
• In April, a branch in Raqqa was taken over by armed men, forcing volunteers to evacuate and set up facilities in another building.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is an impartial, neutral and independent organisation. It delivers critical life-saving assistance and aid to those most in need, when and where access is possible. Its neutrality is key to delivering humanitarian assistance to over two million people every month and enabling it to provide assistance in areas that are otherwise inaccessible to much of the population.
More than 2.1 million people receive aid every month through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, but needs are increasing. The majority of humanitarian needs in Syria are still not being met.
To donate to the British Red Cross Syria Crisis Appeal go to redcross.org.uk/syriacrisis or call 0845 054 7206.
For photos showing the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in action, go to http://avlibrary.redcross.org.uk/ef/ixbin/hixclient?id=d6321cdacdb02eb4766329bc405cd4f3
For spokespeople and interviews on the British Red Cross appeal please contact:
Penny Sims (firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 207 877 7044 / 07659 145 095)
Notes to editors
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk or follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/britishredcross
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.