Aid blockade to South Waziristan: Red Cross

GENEVA: The Red Cross today warned that relief workers were being kept out of

Pakistan’s embattled region of South Waziristan where

the civilian toll is believed to be mounting sharply.

Several conflict areas in northern Pakistan were largely out of bounds to aid workers, who faced “very heavy restrictions on access” mainly due to heavy fighting, a senior official at the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Evidence from people who managed to flee those areas, especially South Waziristan, suggested that the number of civilian casualties had surged, ICRC head of operations for south Asia Jacques de Maio added.

“What we see now is a sharp and extremely worrying increase in the number of civilian casualties,” he told journalists.”Aid must reach those who need it. We see effective and unobstructed medical services for the sick and wounded as imperative, followed by assistance to IDPs (internally displaced people) and host families.” “To achieve this, humanitarian access must expand and reach a meaningful level,” de Maio added.”We, however, have little knowledge of the needs,” added de Maio.