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ICRC increases operations in Madagascar

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Growing violence from demonstrations in Madagascar has prompted the International Committee of the Red Cross to rapidly increase operations in the country.

ICRC officials estimate that 40 persons have been killed in anti-government protests taking place in Madagascar's capital of Antananarivo. The ongoing conflict between authorities and demonstrators has resulted in as many as 350 people who have been injured, the ICRC reported.

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The Geneva-based ICRC says it has infused a growing amount of support for its local affiliation in Madagascar, the Malagasy Red Cross Society, in order to address the escalating crisis and safely transport injured people to adequate health facilities.

"We deplore these deaths and are concerned that violence may flare up again," Olivier Gillabert, head of the ICRC in Madagascar, said in a statement.

"There is a real risk of further clashes, and it is important that the authorities enable Malagasy Red Cross Society responders to react promptly and safely."

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