Afghanistan troubles ICRC

Oct. 3, 2011 at 1:59 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The International Red Cross said people in rural parts of Afghanistan are paying the price for the conflict that has afflicted the country for the last decade.

Last month, Afghanistan became the 62nd nation to back the cluster munitions treaty.

States that have joined the convention are obligated to take measures to destroy their stockpiles and clear munitions remnants from their territory.

International Committee for the Red Cross President Jakob Kellenberger said Afghanistan's signature proved the detrimental nature of cluster munitions.

Nevertheless, the ICRC, in an operational update, said more people need assistance in Afghanistan than they did last year.

The ICRC said it delivered more than 300 tons of food aid to those in need in July and August and registered more than 1,000 new patients, including 182 amputees, at its medical centers.

Afghanistan, the Red Cross said, is the largest operation it has in terms of committed resources.

"The ICRC has brought emergency assistance to thousands of people fleeing conflict in their villages in recent months, far more than last year," it said. "Access to healthcare remains difficult in many rural areas. Easily preventable diseases, such as measles, are on the rise as routine vaccination programs are disrupted by conflict."

Most international forces are slowing pulling out of the country.

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