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Controversy over Red Cross workers being held captive in Mundoo

2 May 2007 No Comment

Minivan News reports that three French Red Cross workers were held captive in Mundoo in Laamu Atoll on Friday.

The islanders deny keeping them as hostages. The Head of the French Red Cross Delegation to the Maldives, Emmanuel Vivien, told Minivan News that previous reports in the media that Star Force attacked Mundoo after the incident were false.

Miscommunication within people of islands about the distinctive role of the international NGOs and the government in the tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction could be a factor that leads to such incidents, according to Minivan News.

The Mundoo incident also shows how little understanding most islanders have of the distinction between Categories of tsunami victims, or of the division between the responsibilities of the Red Cross, the government and its various agencies, and the UN.

Vivien described the many strategies the French Red Cross use to inform tsunami victims of their role in reconstruction. These include a 24-hour hotline manned by Dhivehi speaking staff, newsletters distributed to all islanders and question and answer sessions.

Vivien did not comment on whether the government is equally proactive in keeping victims informed.

Toriq Ibrahim, Director of the government’s Housing and Infrastructure Re-Development Unity (HIRU) was unavailable for comment, as were representatives of the other government agencies involved.

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