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Red Cross evacuates Kiwi nurses from Jalalabad

www.redcross.org.nz

13 May 2005

Red Cross evacuates Kiwi nurses from Jalalabad

Two New Zealand Red Cross nurses have evacuated Jalalabad following rioting in the Afghan city.

New Zealand Red Cross operations manager Andrew McKie says Aucklander Wendy Hetrick and Julie Young of Tauranga are both safe in the Afghan Capital, Kabul.

Riots are reported to have broken out in protest against the reported desecration of the Koran in Guantanamo Bay. The United Nations diplomatic area was reportedly attacked by about 200 protestors with grenades, Molotov cocktails and stones.

The Red Cross compound is understood to have suffered some damage.

"Wendy Hetrick and Julie Young have both been in contact with New Zealand Red Cross since reaching Kabul and are well. They are looking forward to getting back to Jalalabad, but it remains unclear at this stage when it will be safe to return," Mr McKie says.

"The Red Cross is committed to assuring the security of its workers wherever they are in the world and has many years of experience in this particular region."

Mr McKie says the Red Cross is used to working in areas of conflict and aid workers are always ready for this kind of situation. Delegations provide security briefings and have emergency plans in place.

Wendy Hetrick and Julie Young are based at the main public hospital in Jalalabad, a city near the Pakistan border.

Wendy, who is on her first mission for the Red Cross (and her first trip overseas), is working in the hospital's operating theatre and Julie, an experienced delegate, is a teaching nurse.

ENDS

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