Palestine Red Crescent at the forefront assisting civilians in Gaza Strip and West Bank

Publié: 15 juillet 2014 17:05 CET

By Raefah Makki in Beirut 

Hostilities have significantly escalated since the eruption of violence on July 7 in the Gaza Strip. Continued military operations have led to the increase of casualties on a large scale, while hundreds of people were forced to flee from their homes. According to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 208 people have been killed and more than 2,800 wounded since the beginning of the emergency.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society has been at the forefront of operations since the beginning of the crisis and increased its readiness to respond to the needs of Palestinians affected in areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt).

Palestine Red Crescent Society staff and more than 400 volunteers are currently responding to the needs of Palestinian communities, often under challenging or dangerous conditions. The society’s Emergency Medical Service station in Gaza, Jabaliya branch, was hit, injuring 12 members of staff and damaging three ambulances which are now out of service. An ambulance was also hit while the medical teams were transporting injured people in the Gaza Strip.

The humanitarian and health situation has severely deteriorated; and hospitals and medical centers have been damaged. According to the latest OCHA report, five medical facilities –  including the EMS center in Gebalaya – have been severely damaged. Families continue to struggle on a daily basis seeking shelter and safety, and their needs are mounting due to the blockade affecting medical, fuel and food supplies.

Dr. Younis Al Khatib, President of the Palestine Red Crescent Society said the continued shelling of populated areas would inevitably lead to more civilian deaths. “Almost 80 per cent of Palestinians killed have been civilians, 21 per cent of these are children,” he said. “International Humanitarian Law stresses the importance of protecting of civilians and their properties. In addition, the large number of injured and internally displaced people puts more responsibility on our shoulders as we respond to the growing humanitarian crisis.”   

The National Society’s hospitals, clinics, staff and volunteers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank continue to provide emergency medical and relief services to the wounded and other affected by the violence. Red Crescent teams have provided first aid and transport to more than 2,425 injured and transported 109 dead bodies. For the relief support, it has distributed non-food items to main branch warehouses. Each distribution can reach 5,000 families.

Realizing the importance of the psychosocial needs of the most vulnerable, the Red Crescent has 170 trained psychologists who are on call in Gaza to provide support to children who are likely to be more affected.

Coordination is taking place with the Egyptian Red Crescent in regards of in-kind donation of medical supplies, food items and non-food items coming through the Rafah border.

The IFRC is allocating funds from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to enable the Palestine Red Crescent Society replenish emergency medical stocks as needed, and to provide first aid training to the public.