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Kazakhstan: Red Cross Regional Conference Begins Today

Almaty, 9 December 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The first regional conference on the strategy of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic countries begins today in the capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty. The conference is sponsored by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The head of the Federation's Central Asian branch, Robert McKerrow, says the conference will be attended by delegations from 25 donor countries. McKerrow says the conference will discuss preparations for activities in emergency situations and in dealing with their consequences, the training of nurses and aid to refugees.

The Red Cross recently launched a $21 million appeal for Central Asian states. The Red Cross said the aid appeal was prompted by war, hunger and the collapse of social welfare in the five Central Asian states. The Red Cross has specifically cited malnutrition in Kazakhstan, the needs of Afhgan refugees seeking shelter in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the continuing civil war in Tajikistan.