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©Reuters / Daniel Aguilar,

Crisis in Haiti

Faced with poverty levels among the highest in the world and a looming political crisis that has engulfed the country for the past three months, Haiti is in a state of near-anarchy. The Haitian Red Cross and the ICRC are working together to meet humanitarian needs arising from the crisis. The wounded people in dire need of medical care were rushed to hospitals in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities. These are poorly staffed and ill-equipped to cope with such an emergency. The ICRC is particularly concerned by repeated incidents of armed individuals breaking into hospitals, endangering the lives of both staff and patients. The Haitian Red Cross, with ICRC support, is continuing to evacuate the wounded, despite increasingly restricted access to them. Since December 2003 the ICRC and the National Society have provided medical facilities with first-aid material in sufficient quantities to treat 1,000 wounded and surgical kits to treat 1,400 war wounded. A cargo with 32 tonnes of surgical equipment has been supplied to a main hospital in Pétionville, near Port-au-Prince. Material is also being distributed to hospitals in the capital, as well as the main hospital in Gonaives. Wherever possible, the ICRC is also continuing to visit detainees.


Café in Grozny

In January 2004 the "mine awareness" café was opened in Grozny in which nine mine-affected people are working.

The limb-fitting centre in Grozny reopened on 24 April 2003 with help from the ICRC, which supplied the equipment needed to produce artificial limbs and arranged for the ten newly hired staff members to attend a two-year training course in Sochi, on the Black Sea. Once their training is completed and the centre is working to full capacity, they will be able to provide more than 300 patients a year with artificial limbs and perform an even greater amount of repair work.

©Christopher Black /
International Federation

Still growing

The Kazakh Red Crescent Society and the Red Cross Societies from the Cook Islands and Micronesia have been formally admitted to the International Federation, bringing to 181 the number of full members. The decision to admit the three new National Societies was adopted unanimously at the International Federation's General Assembly in Geneva in December 2003.

"I congratulate these National Societies. Their work will benefit from being part of the International Federation, and from the support and expertise that membership brings," said International Federation president, Juan Manuel Suárez del Toro. "It is great news that our network is becoming more and more universal."

©Johan Sohlberg / ICRC

Fighting war's legacies

More than 90 countries, including major military powers, have agreed to a ground-breaking treaty to cut the huge number of civilians who are the casualties of munitions left over from armed conflicts. The ICRC welcomes the adoption this new treaty on explosive remnants of war (ERW) — the first international agreement to require that parties to an armed conflict clear all unexploded munitions that threaten civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian workers once the fighting is over.

The agreement, adopted by the 91 states party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), including all major military powers, will be the fifth protocol additional to this convention. It primarily requires the parties to an armed conflict to clear ERW in areas under their control after a conflict and to provide technical, material and financial assistance in areas not under their control with a view to facilitating the removal of unexploded or abandoned ordnance left over from their operations.

The treaty, which will enter into force after 20 states have ratified it, will apply to conflicts that break out thereafter. The new agreement on explosive remnants of war is the latest development in efforts to eliminate the scourge of unexploded and abandoned ordnance. The rules adopted by the states party to the CCW supplement the ongoing work to end the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines.

©Thierry Gassmann / ICRC

In Memoriam

On 17 December 2003, the ICRC paid tribute to its 12 staff members killed in the line of duty since 2000. On this occasion, the families of the deceased were greeted by numerous ICRC staff members and the president, who presented them with medals in honour of their loved ones. The 12 dead were: Aduwe Boboli, Julio Delgado, Rita Fox-Stucki, Jean Molokabonge, Véronique Saro and Unen Ufoirworth, all killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 26 April 2000; Ole Friis Eriksen, killed in southern Sudan on 9 May 2001; Ricardo Munguia, killed on 27 March 2003 in Afghanistan; Vatche Arslanian, killed on 8 April 2003 in Baghdad; Nadisha Yasassri Ranmuthu killed in Iraq on 22 July 2003; and Zoheir Abdallah Ahmad Hamdi and Dekran Gregor Dekran Agopian, killed in Baghdad on 27 October 2003.

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