News Column

Red Cross, Red Crescent Respond to Gaza Conflict

Nov. 19, 2012
red cross red crescent

The ongoing hostilities between Gaza and Israel have left dozens of people dead and hundreds wounded. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is giving impartial support to people on both sides of the border.

Juan-Pedro Schaerer, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Israel and the occupied territories, said: "Despite difficult security conditions, the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Magen David Adom in Israel are working round the clock to treat casualties and evacuate them to hospitals. The ICRC is helping the Gazan Ministry of Health and our partners in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement take care of the wounded."

Treating the wounded Since the beginning of the airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, staff and volunteers from the Palestine Red Crescent have evacuated, treated and transferred to hospital 29 dead and 270 injured people.

Magen David Adom in Israel has reported treating over 179 people - three dead, three severely injured, 76 with light-to-medium injuries and 97 suffering from stress symptoms. Additional Magen David Adom personnel and vehicles from other regions have been dispatched to the south of Israel.

Providing Gaza with medicine The attacks and airstrikes have already put extra strain onto the Palestine Red Crescent and local health authorities' capacity to cope with the large numbers of wounded. Gaza has been suffering from a chronic shortage of essential drugs and disposables.

The ICRC has supplied medicines, disposables, infusions and dressing materials to the Ministry of Health in Gaza - which then delivered them to hospitals - and provided dressing materials for the ambulances. It has also been facilitating the entry of ten lorry loads of medicines and disposables, which will be available for distribution in the next few days. The Palestine Red Crescent has also provided three of its own surgical kits to the public hospitals.

Stressful and dangerous conditions More than 200 Palestine Red Crescent volunteers have been deployed in Gaza. So far, five Red Crescent volunteers have been lightly wounded and three Red Crescent premises have suffered minor damage due to explosions nearby.

The high number of ongoing airstrikes is also impacting on the mental wellbeing of large numbers of Gaza's population - people who have already been severely affected by the five-year blockade and by the conflict in 2008-9.

Source: (C)1994-2012 M2 Communications