ICRC finds it tough to offer aid to Syrian civilians |
Oman Tribune - 16 June, 2012
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday it was working around the clock to provide food and medical assistance to thousands of civilians who have fled the escalating violence in Syria.
ICRC water engineers were also trying to upgrade supplies or deliver clean drinking water to the displaced staying in the flashpoint areas of Homs and Houla, it said.
“The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are carrying on with their efforts to help the tens of thousands of people in fighting-stricken areas in the shortest possible time,” it said in a statement issued in Geneva.
The ICRC, the only international agency to deploy aid workers in Syria, said its teams have visited Aleppo, Idlib city and surrounding rural areas, and Al Nabak, some 80km northeast of Damascus, in the past week.
“More and more people are in need of help,” said Alexandre Equey, deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Syria. “In some areas, people are unable to get out, and help cannot get in.”
In a strategy aimed at ensuring supplies if fighting breaks out, it has delivered food, mattresses, blankets and medical items to branches of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent all over the country. “This set-up helps the organisations respond to urgent needs promptly, which is especially important to do in view of the increasing violence,” it said.
Medical supplies to wounded have been sent to Aleppo, Damascus, rural Damascus, Deraa, Hama, Homs, Idlib and Tartous.
In a related development, the European Union announced that caviar, cigars and leather shoes are among luxury goods that may no longer be exported to Syria, alongside laboratory viruses and gas masks, says a Brussels report.
Sanctions targeting the Assad couple’s high-end lifestyle will enter force on Sunday, the EU said, as Brussels seeks to punish the regime over the relentless bloodshed that has killed over 14,000 people since March last year.
The detailed list of products includes “equipment, goods and technology that may be used for manufacturing and maintaining goods that may be used for internal repression,” the EU said in a statement.