Nepal: Growing concerns over vandalism of ambulances

Kathmandu (ICRC/Nepal Red Cross Society) – Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have expressed serious concern over the growing incidents of vandalizing of ambulances by protestors in Tarai districts.

On Sunday, a group of people in Siraha district hurled stones on a Red Cross ambulance that was heading to Birgunj. Similarly, four Red Cross ambulances as well as a number of ambulances operated by other services providers were vandalized by protestors in various Tarai districts in the past three weeks.

"The NRCS operates ambulance service from 173 stations across the country. They must be allowed to move without any obstruction at all times. The ambulance services being operated by other agencies also should receive similar treatment," said Dev Ratna Dhakhwa, secretary general of the NRCS.

"We are extremely concerned about the consequences of the recent violence," said Dragana Kojic, ICRC's head of delegation in Nepal. "We urge all the political parties to exercise restraint and urge them to allow ambulance services to carry out their tasks even during demonstrations and strikes."

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 to ensure efficient delivery of health care services in all circumstances.

The NRCS and the ICRC appealed to all concerned parties 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:

Binod Kafle, ICRC Kathmandu, tel: +977 9851074295 or +977 1 4107285 Dibya Raj Paudel, Nepal Red Cross Society Kathmandu, tel: +977 9841699068 or +977 1 4285089