Humanitarian hopes remain in Gaza

Published: 19 September 2006 0:00 CET

Mutasem Awad, IHL Coordinator, Palestine Red Crescent Society

In the Palestinian Occupied Territories, the humanitarian crisis continues to the sound of rocket fire. Over the course of the past three months, the situation has worsened, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

There, Palestinian Red Crescent workers and trained volunteers are making sacrifices every day. 40 year old Anwar Jumma Abu Holly, father of six children, would give his leg.

In the early hours of the morning the PRCS emergency medical technician went with his colleagues to evacuate and transport wounded people, injured from an Israeli air strike at Al Magazi refugee camp.

There were a large number of injuries in the area. Abu Holly and his colleagues started to provide first aid medication to the injured in the field. A second air strike took place and one of the missiles exploded by Abu Holly. He lost his left leg in the explosion.

Abu Holly’s friend who took him from home and went to the scene was shocked when he saw the injury. All his colleagues were psychologically affected. Abu Holly is a father of six and is the only bread winner in his family.

Despite his permanent disability the medic is still motivated by the values of the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.

“It will not eliminate or destroy our hope, and it will not stop me from continuing my Humanitarian mission that I believe in”

The International Committee of the Red Cross says that more than two months after the start of military operations life for 1.4 million people remains very difficult.

It says Bedouin and farming communities in the Shoka area have lost their homes and livelihoods. While people in the north of the Ghaza Strip in Beit Hanoun, Shejaya and Jabalia also continue to be affected, as do those in Khan Younis in the south.

The Palestinian Red Crescent says 226 people have been killed by the Israeli army between 28 June and 28 August, including 55 children and 20 women, 570 others were injured.

In addition more than two hundred thousands families are living without electricity. The central electrical station in Gaza has been destroyed. It provided electricity to 50% of the Palestinians in the Gaza strip including hospitals and clinics. To rebuild it will take eight months and cost an estimated USD 15 million.

The lack of electricity has also disrupted another vital utility, water. Without power the water networks won’t function. In co-ordination with the Norwegian Red Cross the ICRC has been providing generators to run water pumping stations across the Gaza Strip.