NZ staff in failed attack on Red Cross workers

By Amelia Wade

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Two New Zealand aid workers have been caught up in a failed targeted attack on a hospital in Afghanistan.

Although shaken, the New Zealanders were unharmed when a motorcycle-borne explosive device was detonated outside the entrance of a hospital in the Kandahar district yesterday afternoon.

"Fortunately only the fuse detonated, so the injuries sustained were instead minor, two ICRC staff hurt by plastic shrapnel," the New Zealand Red Cross said in a statement.

The aid workers were evacuated from Mirwais Hospital to the ICRC compound immediately and their activities at the hospital have been suspended for the next three days.

As well, the 30 to 35 expatriate ICRC staff in Kandahar have since been evacuated to Kabul.

However, one of the New Zealand aid workers was asked to stay in Kandahar with a few key personnel until further notice.

The organisation said full security measures have been put in place.

"This incident again highlights the growing violence against health-care workers, facilities and beneficiaries remaining one of the most serious humanitarian challenges in the world today. And yet it frequently goes unrecognised," the New Zealand Red Cross said.

"A single act of violence that damages a hospital or kills health-care workers has a knock-on effect, depriving many patients of treatment they would otherwise have received from the facility or workers in question."

A third New Zealand aid worker is also based in Kandahar but was on leave at the time of the attack.

New Zealand Red Cross supports humanitarian aid workers and has international programmes in more than 15 countries.

- NZ Herald

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