When War Moves to Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Areas

When War Moves to Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Areas

Globally, some fifty million people currently are affected by conflict in urban areas, where protecting civilians is far more challenging than in less crowded environments, a report from InterAction and the International Committee of the Red Cross argues. The report, When War Moves to Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Areas (16 pages, HTML or PDF), found that, due to the interconnected nature of urban services and residents' high dependence on those services, conflict-caused damage to urban infrastructure affects disproportionately large numbers of people, necessitating large-scale humanitarian efforts. In addition to the direct physical impact of urban warfare, civilians also suffer from indirect consequences such as loss of access to medical care and displacement of service providers, as well as cumulative impacts, including the long-term deterioration in essential services. The report highlights the need for more effective cooperation between humanitarian and development organizations before as well as during a crisis, more flexible funding, and redoubled efforts to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law by all parties to a conflict.