ICRC urges access to humanitarian relief for civilians in Africa’s conflict zones

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By Grace Audu –

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), on Tuesday, asked for unrestricted access to humanitarian aid for civilians in Africa’s conflict zones.

According to the charity organization, around 26 million people live in locations in Africa where humanitarian organizations have trouble accessing the most vulnerable people, and access to essential services such as medical treatment is severely limited owing to violence and armed conflict.

Conflicts between non-state armed groups and government forces, according to Patrick Youssef, the ICRC’s head for Africa, impede relief agencies from reaching Africa’s most vulnerable people.

The charity estimates that some 16.8 million are in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, while 5.5 million are in Eastern Africa and 1.5 million are in Central Africa, with smaller pockets found elsewhere.

The charity called on all parties to a conflict to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need.

It also called on all actors to respect international humanitarian law and other applicable norms, in particular by respecting and protecting humanitarian workers, civilian populations, and their infrastructure such as homes, schools, and health centers.

The ICRC is seeking to communicate with all the parties involved in the conflict in order to assess needs and provide assistance to the most vulnerable.

In Africa, the ICRC said it has established direct contact with 230 non-state armed groups. “Our dialogue with arms carriers is a humanitarian imperative to allow people to have access to water, food, and health services”, Youssef said. 

Xinhua

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