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Health care in danger: raising awareness

Saturday 16 November 2013


A burned ambulance, peppered with dozens of bullet holes and doors ripped off in an explosion is a shocking sight in the middle of sunny and peaceful Darling Harbour in Sydney.

What is more shocking is that sights like these are occurring more and more frequently around the world.

In Sri Lanka and Somalia, hospitals have been shelled; in Libya and Lebanon, ambulances have been shot at; in Bahrain, medical personnel who treated protesters are on trial; and in Afghanistan, the wounded languish for hours in vehicles held up in checkpoint queues.

From Colombia to Gaza, and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Nepal, there is a lack of respect for the neutrality of health-care facilities and personnel. Often working amidst people who are heavily armed, doctors, nurses and other health care workers are threatened, kidnapped and killed.

The ambulance exhibit is part of Red Cross Red Crescent's campaign to raise awareness about how providing health care can become an extraordinarily hazardous undertaking, during periods of armed violence

In 2011, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement across more than 180 countries set out the Health Care in Danger program, with the aim to improve the security and delivery of health care in armed conflict.

"It's a matter of life and death, a universal concern. Violence against health care must be recognised as one of the most serious humanitarian issues today. It must end if we continue to strive for humanity during war," says Helen Durham, head of International Humanitarian Law at Australian Red Cross.

You can see this display and more at the Humanitarian Village in Sydney on Sunday 17 and Monday 18 November. The Village is a place where your can learn about the work of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and celebrate the humanitarian work of people worldwide.

Learn more about the Health Care in Danger project »