IRRC No. 107

Aid to the Victims of the Civil War in Nigeria

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… Why and how did the International Committee of the Red Cross commit itself? The reasons for its commitment were clearly expressed by the Delegate-General of the ICRC for Africa, even before the break was complete between the government of Nigeria and the leaders of the Eastern province. Concluding a report giving; an account, at the end of 1966, of the disturbances by which Nigeria had been torn during the year, Mr. Georges Hoffmann—under the title “Disaster relief in case of man-made disaster”—defined the task he wanted the ICRC to undertake: “A holocaust is taking place; there are victims, and care must be given to those who are not dead. As in the case of natural disasters, there must be teams of surgeons, supplies of surgical equipment, medical supplies, foodstuffs and blankets, and there must be means of transport, particularly ambulances and vans”. In short, it was necessary to set up in Geneva, in agreement with the League of Red Cross Societies, an organization which would make it possible to confront those “man-made disasters” similar to the one which the League had already created in Nigeria to deal with natural disasters.

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