Humanitarian efforts ongoing in Georgia region

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 — The American Red Cross is contributing $100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) efforts to aid many who were injured or displaced as a result of the conflict in Georgia. As the violence spreads beyond South Ossetia, the ICRC is hearing reports of an increasing number of civilian casualties.

With many people injured and many more fleeing their homes as a result of the conflict, medical and relief supplies are urgently needed. Initial support will go to help extend the relief work of the ICRC on the ground, while additional response options are evaluated.

Since Georgia is a conflict zone, the ICRC will take the lead in humanitarian response for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; the ICRC has established an air bridge from its logistics center in Amman, Jordan, to Tbilisi, Georgia with a 35 ton shipment due to leave shortly containing relief supplies, including blankets, tarps, hygiene items and containers for collecting clean water. Future shipments will include rice and food parcels.

In addition to providing medical and emergency relief, the ICRC is assessing the tracing needs of people who have lost contact with their loved ones. ICRC staff has met with a number of civilians who are anxiously trying to locate their relatives and will work to restore links between family members separated from each other.

The ICRC has also officially reminded Georgia and Russia of their obligation under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and distinguish at all times between the civilian population and those taking a direct part in the hostilities.

The Movement is made up of 186 national societies – like the American Red Cross – that respond to humanitarian needs after disasters, and the ICRC that provides these services in conflict zones. (To learn more about the different roles and responsibilities of the ICRC and the American Red Cross, click here).

Leave a Reply