Red Cross warns of ‘worst-case scenario’ in Mariupol
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Sunday that a “worst-case scenario” awaits residents of Mariupol, Ukraine, unless a “concrete, precise, actionable agreement” is reached on evacuation routes and life-saving aid is sent to those in the city.
In a statement on Sunday, the Red Cross painted a grim picture of the reality on the ground in the besieged city of Mariupol and said “dead bodies, of civilians and combatants, remain trapped under the rubble or lying in the open where they fell. Life-changing injuries and chronic, debilitating conditions cannot be treated. The human suffering is simply immense.”
It added that there is an “extreme or total shortage” of food, water and medicine and hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents are “sheltering in unheated basements, risking their lives to make short runs outside for food and water.”
According to the ICRC, all those participating in the fighting need to “agree to the modalities and timing” of a cease-fire, along with the precise locations of the safe passage route, and ensure that the agreement is respected.
“There must be enough advance notice to ensure the information is effectively disseminated through the military chain of command as well as to the civilian population, especially given that communication and power networks are unreliable or down. Importantly, the parties would also need to clear roads of any obstacle preventing safe passage,” it added.
It further appealed that the “parties involved” respect international humanitarian law.
“Civilians who do not take part in hostilities, civilian infrastructure, hospitals and medical personnel cannot be targeted,” the statement said.
This statement comes as there has been widespread outrage in the international community after the news that a pregnant woman and her baby have died following the Russian bombardment of a maternity hospital in Mariupol last week.
Officials of Mariupol said that nearly 2,200 people have died within the last 24 hours due to Russian attacks on their city. The now Russian-controlled city has suffered 22 bombing attacks in the last 24 hours.