For Immediate Release 6 January 2009
For further information Mark South
Contact number 020 7877 7042
British Red Cross supports Gaza aid effort
The British Red Cross has responded to an appeal from the Palestinian Red Crescent to its partners for financial help with a £75,000 donation towards its ongoing emergency relief and medical operation in Gaza.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described the situation in Gaza as a ‘full blown humanitarian crisis’.
“We are worried about the increasing number of civilian casualties and civilian buildings, including hospitals, damaged in the fighting,” said Moira Reddick, British Red Cross head of disaster management.
“Key facilities in Gaza, such as hospitals, water systems and sewerage installations were already in a precarious state because of the closures and import restrictions imposed by Israel over the past 18 months."
Most hospitals report that their emergency rooms and intensive care units are overwhelmed.
At least two hospitals are set to run out of fuel for their generators, which are now the only source of power available to run medical equipment.
The ICRC will try to arrange safe passage for fuel tankers from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to these hospitals.
Because of disruption to power lines that bring electricity from Israel to Gaza City, 10 of the 45 wells in the city are no longer functioning.
Two wells have been damaged by air strikes and the remaining wells are set to shut down in the coming two to three days, when their support generators will run out of fuel.
"If the power supply is not restored immediately, half a million residents of Gaza City will be completely deprived of water," warned Javier Cordoba, the ICRC's water and sanitation coordinator. "Ensuring safe access for technicians to repair the power lines is now an urgent priority."
Other Red Cross/Red Crescent Work
The ICRC's war-surgery team, consisting of two doctors and two nurses, was able to cross into Gaza today (Tuesday Jan 6) and will be helping surgeons at Shifa Hospital to treat complicated injuries.
The ICRC continues to coordinate safe passage for Palestine Red Crescent ambulances and for technicians attempting to repair essential services such as the power lines that provide electricity from Israel to Gaza.
The ICRC has brought new supplies of blood and 1,000 doses of tetanus toxoid vaccines into Gaza. Hospitals had completely run out of these vaccines, which are potentially lifesaving for patients with dirty wounds or needing an operation.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society reports that its ambulances assisted 46 casualties during the 24 hours from Sunday to Monday noon. Included in this figure are 15 fatalities. The Palestine Red Crescent underlines that it received other calls for help that it could not respond to because of the ongoing hostilities.
To donate to the British Red Cross Disaster Fund visit www.redcross.org.uk/disasterfund
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.