Nairobi: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday called for unimpeded access to humanitarian relief for civilians in areas affected by conflict in Africa.
The charity said in a statement that some 26 million people live in areas in Africa where humanitarian groups have difficulty reaching people most in need, and access to basic services like medical care is extremely limited due to violence and armed conflict.
Patrick Youssef, ICRC’s director for Africa said clashes between non-state armed groups and government forces prevent aid organizations from reaching those most in need in Africa.
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 infrastructures such as homes, schools, and health centres.
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.