President of Palestine Red Crescent Society visits Gaza and calls for the protection of civilians and aid workers

Published: 21 July 2014 16:15 CET

Dr Younis Al Khatib, President of Palestine Red Crescent Society, arrived in Gaza this weekend through the Rafah crossing to follow up on the humanitarian crisis which has been growing worse in the Gaza Strip over the past two weeks. On his visit, the president met with staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to support families and communities affected by the violence, providing first aid, emergency relief and psychosocial support.

Dr Al Khatib visited the Red Crescent’s emergency and ambulance centers and the central operations room which monitors and coordinates the society’s response. As well as witnessing the front line operations, Dr Al Khatib also listened in to some of the calls being managed by centre staff.

Later, the president was taken to hospitals operated by the society in Jerusalem and Al Amal to see the treatment and health services provided to injured people. He also visited the Al-Shifaa hospital in Gaza which has seen a steady rise in casualties in the past two weeks.

Following the shelling of the Shuja'iyya neighborhood yesterday, a large Palestine Red Crescent Society team, with support from ICRC, was able to enter the neighborhood during a short-lived local ceasefire to begin evacuating victims and rescuing people trapped under destroyed buildings. The team was also able to check on the condition of the Gebalaya branch which was damaged during an attack.

During the operation, Dr Al Khatib called for the protection of civilians and aid workers in accordance with international humanitarian law and called on the international community to help put pressure on combatants to cease attacks on civilian areas and health facilities, and to respect the Movement’s emblems.

He assured residents that the Palestine Red Crescent Society would continue to provide health and relief services, and also press for humanitarian access to affected areas.