August 01, 2014
The humanitarian consequences of the ongoing conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestine Territories continue to impact the lives of millions.
The situation in the densely populated Gaza Strip is particularly dire. Ongoing tensions and violence coupled with restrictions on the freedom of movement have restricted access to health care services, heightened unemployment rates and worsened an already serious financial crisis.
The water shortage in Gaza is also putting the lives of the affected population at risk. More than 90 per cent of groundwater wells are unsafe for human use, and only 15-25 per cent of households are supplied with running water on a daily basis.
In order to relieve suffering in the region, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been working tirelessly with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and local authorities to restore people’s access to water, medical care and shelter. Red Crescent ambulances, backed by ICRC staff, are working around the clock to save lives and take wounded people to hospital.
To date, the Palestine Red Crescent has mobilized 122 ambulances, as well as 350 technicians and 400 volunteers. Red Crescent teams have provided first aid and transport services to more than 3,800 injured and provided relief assistance to 6,596 families. Items distributed include blankets, mattresses, hygiene kits, kitchen kits, water and some clothes.
In Israel, Magen David Adom, the country’s National Society, has been providing emergency medical services to those affected by the conflict. Over 1,000 ambulances and emergency vehicles are now on standby 24 hours a day. In addition, first aid kits have been distributed to some 125 shelters across the country.
The ICRC is reaching out to all victims amid the growing crisis. While carrying out their humanitarian duties, staff, volunteers and official vehicles such as ambulances have been exposed to violence. Under international humanitarian law, medical personnel, hospitals and ambulances exclusively assigned to medical duties must be spared and allowed at all times to carry out their duties.
The ICRC has stepped up its dialogue with the parties to the conflict about the conduct of hostilities, reminding them of their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the need to take constant care to spare the civilian population and civilian infrastructure.
The Canadian Red Cross is supporting Red Cross and Red Crescent operations on the ground to alleviate suffering and provide live-saving assistance in this complex and challenging environment. You can contribute by donating online to the Middle East and North Africa Crisis Fund.
Donations to this fund will be used in the region to assist the most vulnerable and where help is needed most.