26.04.2005 General News

Red Cross consignment stranded at Aflao

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Aflao, April 26, GNA - A truck loaded with first-aid consignment, dispatched by the International Red Cross from its West African Headquarters in Cote d'Ivoire to Lome is among vehicles stranded at the Aflao Border, following the closure of the Togo side of the border. The Ghana News Agency (GNA) gathered that items included pharmaceuticals, stretchers, and tents, among other things.

Sources close to the team accompanying the consignment said the items were meant to augment materials for Red Cross Volunteers in Lome in case the political situation in that West African state deteriorated. They said since Sunday when the truck arrived at Aflao, the Togolese authorities had failed to heed all appeals to them, including one through the Red Cross Representative in Togo, to grant the team entry into Togo with the items.

"The Red Cross and the Red Crescent Society work in every country or conflict area without the type of hindrance we are witnessing from the Togolese authorities," one of the sources said. He said appeals by the Ghanaian border authorities to their counterparts in Togo to ease the restrictions to allow the medical items into Togo also failed.

He said a distress message had been sent to France and the Geneva Headquarters of the International Red Cross to intervene, as the Red Cross viewed the situation in Togo with great concern. The source said the Red Cross felt obliged to be on the ground to assist in abating the suffering on the wounded and in readiness in case the situation further deteriorated.

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