24 July 2014
Red Cross spokespeople are available in London, Gaza, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
For further information contact:
0207 877 7095 / 07711 2376 377
Out of Hours +44 7710 391703
Gaza and Israel crisis: British Red Cross launches appeal as death toll spirals and water and medical supplies dwindle
• Appeal will support aid work in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories
• British surgeon sent to the frontline to help treat growing number of injured in Gaza
• The psychological impact on children on both sides are a grave concern
• International Humanitarian Law must be respected and civilians and aid workers protected
As the crisis in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories continues into its third week, the British Red Cross is launching an emergency appeal to help people affected on both sides of the conflict.
The Israeli ground offensive has entered its seventh consecutive day as the death toll in Gaza exceeds 600, including more than 500 civilians. There is an urgent need for medical assistance and aid relief for the more than 140,000 people displaced by the fighting in the territory.
Katy Attfield Head of Disaster Management at the British Red Cross said: “The images of suffering we are seeing from Gaza and Israel are appalling. It is heart breaking to see so many families, on both sides of the border, torn apart by this conflict.
“The escalation of violence is dangerously impeding humanitarian access. It is vital that emergency services are able to function so they can reach those who desperately need our help.”
Intense overcrowding and limited humanitarian access are exacerbating the desperate living conditions of those forced to leave their homes because of the conflict. They have nowhere safe to go. Infrastructure in Gaza – mainly water and electricity supplies – is also severely affected and in some areas not functioning at all.
The Palestine Red Crescent is at the forefront of operations and has mobilised emergency medical services including 122 ambulances, 350 technicians and 400 volunteers. Non-food items such as kitchen sets and hygiene kits have also been distributed to those who have been made to flee and leave everything behind.
But the situation is critical. Hospitals are struggling to cope, aid and supplies are not getting through. The British Red Cross has now sent a specialist surgeon to Gaza to help medical staff and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) already on the ground as the number of casualties continues to rise.
Across the border in Israel families have been forced to leave their homes amid sustained rocket fire. Magen David Adom (MDA), a member of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, has 650 emergency teams responding and providing first aid, ambulances and psychological support. So far they have treated 125 injured people and 283 with stress-related reactions to incoming attacks.
Attfield said: “We are also gravely concerned about the psychological effects of the conflict on children in Gaza and Israel and are working with Movement partners to help provide psychological support to all those who may need it.”
Both the Palestine Red Crescent and Magen David Adom adhere to the principles of neutrality and impartiality and operate under the protection of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s emblems, enshrined in humanitarian law. Both are mandated to provide health care and emergency response services in times of crisis.
Funds from the appeal will support Movement partners to provide critical assistance during this conflict and its aftermath.
To donate to please call 0845 054 7202
Give online at www.redcross.org.uk/gazaisrael
Postal donations -
British Red Cross
Gaza and Israel Appeal
Red Cross spokespeople are available in London, Gaza, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. For further information, photographs or to request an interview, please contact:
Lucy Keating at LKeating@redcross.org.uk
Tel: +44 207 877 7095 or +44 7710 391703.
Out of hours +44 7710 391 703