IFRC vice president Francesco Rocca visits the Palestine Red Crescent Society

Published: 26 August 2014 17:05 CET

In light of the ongoing emergency in the Occupied Palestine Territory (oPt) – mainly in the Gaza Strip – the Vice-President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and President of the Italian Red Cross, Mr Francesco Rocca started a week-long mission visiting the Palestine Red Crescent Society in Ramallah on Sunday.

The mission began with a visit to the National Society’s Headquarters in Ramallah, where he met the President of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, Dr Younis Al Khatib, who gave the latest developments in the oPt in general, and the Gaza Strip in particular.

After almost 45 days since the onset of the military operations, Dr Al Khatib described the deteriorating humanitarian and health situation. “The military operations in the Gaza Strip, in which civilians and civilian objects were attacked, has led to the displacement of around 250,000 Palestinians who now live in public and UNRWA schools-turned-shelters,” he said.

Dr Al Khatib has also touched on the effects of the conflict on Palestine Red Crescent Society teams, branches and ambulances in the Gaza Strip. Since the conflict began, two ambulances have been destroyed with a further 27 damaged, 46 staff have been injured and four branch offices extensively damaged.

The President expressed his gratitude for the humanitarian role played by the IFRC and for the financial support it has provided through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund which has strengthened the Society’s response and helped to meet the urgent needs of affected populations.

IFRC Vice President Francesco Rocca commended the efforts and sacrifices made by Red Crescent’s staff and volunteers to support people in Gaza. He affirmed that the IFRC would continue to provide support and that he would convey the needs of the people to the President of IFRC, and its 189 member National Societies.

Dr Al Khatib and Mr Rocca visited the National Society’s branch in occupied Jerusalem, and toured its hospital in the city, the Psychosocial support Center and Emergency Medical Center. During this visit, Mr Rocca was briefed about the tremendous challenges faced by PRCS’ teams on Israeli checkpoints between Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank. They also visited the PRCS branch in Hebron and was briefed on the health, psychological and relief services provided by PRCS in Hebron Governorate and the PRCS hospital in Hebron.

The IFRC delegation including Mr Rocca and the Under Secretary General, Mr Walter Cote, arrived in the Gaza Strip today to eye witness the aftermath of the prolonged crisis and assess further support to the National Society to reach the affected people in the Gaza Strip.