Gaza: Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers respond to humanitarian crisis

Published: 30 December 2008 0:00 CET

More than 200 Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) volunteers, 60 medics and 120 medical staff have been working tirelessly to respond to the humanitarian crisis currently taking place in the Gaza strip.

Among other activities, PRCS is responsible for the provision of relief and humanitarian services, ambulance services and hospital care. Pictures of PRCS ambulances evacuating the dead and wounded have been broadcasted by media all over the world, also clearly showing the very dangerous and difficult conditions volunteers and staff are exposed to.

According to the society, around 550 persons had already been transported by PRCS ambulances by 30 December. Three ambulances have also been sent to the Rafah border in order to assist the Ministry of Health in transporting some of the wounded to Egypt.

Running out of medicines

According to PRCS hospital operating rooms are overflowing and running out of essential medicines. The society says that it has become difficult for staff to handle the number of new patients, all the more since hospitals in the Gaza strip already suffered from severe shortages of supplies over the past few months and are not equipped to receive such a high number of casualties.

Through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), five ambulances, 120 pallets of medications and medical supplies, 300 blood units and spare parts for hospitals have been dispatched to Gaza.

The ICRC, as the lead agency within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for this crisis, is also providing essential additional assistance and has called on all parties involved in the hostilities to exercise restraint (more information on ICRC activities here).

International response

For its part, besides actions taken by the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is ready to provide support and assistance to the affected Red Cross Red Crescent societies as required.

The International Federation’s offices in the region as well as the Geneva-based secretariat are closely monitoring the situation and liaising with all parties and Movement partners.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the border, Magen David Adom volunteers and staff have also been mobilized.