On 1st September, an ambulance — marked with distinct Red Cross emblem — that was heading towards Birgunj in Nepal was attacked by a group of people who pelted stones at the vehicle at Choharba of Siraha district.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) are dismayed with the incident. In the past three weeks, four Red Cross ambulances, as well as a number of ambulances operated by other services providers, have been vandalized in Terai / Madhes in relation with ongoing demonstrations.
“We are extremely concerned about the consequences of the recent violence,” said Dragana Kojic, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Nepal. “We call on all parties to exercise restraint and urge them to allow ambulance services to carry out their tasks during demonstrations and strikes (bandh).”
“The NRCS operates its ambulance service from 173 stations throughout the country. They must be able to move unobstructed and securely at all times. The ambulance services being operated by other agencies should receive the same treatment. Any misuse of the Red Cross emblem must be prevented,” said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, Secretary General of the NRCS.
According to both national and international norms, medical personnel, ambulances and other means of medical transport must be respected and protected, and their work must be facilitated. Efficient delivery of health care and access to it need to be ensured in all circumstances.
The NRCS and the ICRC appeal to all parties concerned on the ground to respect the neutral and impartial work of the Red Cross and the health care and emergency services for the people in need.
For further information, please contact:
Krishna Chalisey, ICRC Kathmandu, tel: + 977 1 4107285 or + 977 98510 00602
Dibya Raj Paudel, NRCS Kathmandu, tel: + 977 9841699068