IFRC Secretary General visits Gaza as Strip marks one year since latest conflict

Publié: 22 juillet 2015 11:14 CET

By Soraya Dali-Balta, IFRC

The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, paid a visit to Gaza in early June to wotness the work and efforts of the Palestine Red Crescent Society amid the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Strip, particularly in the aftermath of last year’s conflict.

Sy met with the leadership, staff and volunteers of the society at its premises and facilities in Gaza, on top of them the organization’s President Dr Younis Al Khatib and its Director General, Dr Khaled Joudeh. The delegation was briefed about the Red Crescent society’s programmes, services and activities and the continuous efforts of the volunteers to provide aid and support to the most vulnerable communities affected by the violence last summer. The IFRC delegation’s tour in the occupied Palestinian territory included visits to the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s branches in Jabalia and Khan Younis, and the National Society’s Al Quds Hospital in the city of Gaza and Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, as well as other facilities of the organization. The Secretary General also took part in the inauguration of the Violence Prevention Course, which was supported by the Japanese government as part of the National Society’s Primary Health Care Programme in Gaza.

During the visit, the Secretary General and the IFRC delegation were keen on examining the destruction caused by the violence in the Strip and for this purpose, they toured the cities of Beit Hanoun and Jabalia and Al Shaja’iyah neighbourhood, which were the scenes of several deadly events last summer.

Sy praised the work of the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s volunteers, whom he described as 'the nerve of humanitarian work', calling also for an end to all violence harming civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, Dr Al Khatib stated that the Palestinian National Society is exerting extraordinary efforts “to enhance its health and community-based interventions in Gaza.”

The IFRC delegation’s visit came as Gaza is marking the first year after the summer 2014 conflict which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 persons, injured thousands and caused huge destruction in the Strip. Despite international and local initiatives and assistance, the situation remains largely unchanged due to political and economic constraints. The 2014 violence also increased the number of people who are dependent on humanitarian services and assistance for survival, putting an additional strain on the resources and capacities of the Palestine Red Crescent Society.