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New Zealand Aid Worker Helping in Gaza

New Zealand Aid Worker Helping in Gaza

New Zealand Red Cross aid worker Gail Corbett (right) helps evacuate the wounded in Shuja’iyya in north-east Gaza. Credit: Palestine Red Crescent Society.

A New Zealand Red Cross nurse working in Gaza says she has never experienced anything like the current conflict in her long aid work career.

Gail Corbett of Levin is seconded to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and is working alongside the Palestine Red Crescent Society to provide emergency medical and relief services to the wounded and affected populations.

Ms Corbett, 52, says the situation is difficult but she copes by keeping busy and doing everything possible to help those who need it. Part of her work is to ensure ambulances and hospitals are kept supplied with equipment and to negotiate safe passage for ambulances and medical staff. She is also on call every second night.

A few days ago she was with an ambulance team that went into a heavily shelled area during a negotiated ceasefire. She helped pull people out of the rubble, give first aid, and transport the wounded to hospital.

“There were a lot of deaths, a lot of bodies. For the local people their priority is to bury their dead very quickly but our priority was helping the wounded and getting the women and children out. The numbers of women and children affected has been very high.”

Gail Corbett says she has also become an emotional support for local doctors and nurses who want to talk about what they have seen.

As well as providing Ms Corbett’s services, New Zealand Red Cross has another nurse scheduled to go to Gaza next month, and is providing $50,000 towards the work the ICRC is carrying outin Gaza.

Since the crisis began 18 days ago, 762 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 170 children and 86 women, and more than 4100 have been wounded. 34 Israelis have been killed. More than 140,000 Palestinians have fled their homes.

Gail Corbett says she has visited several hospitals that have been bombed and seen the damage first hand. Equipment and ambulances have been damaged and destroyed, and health workers injured.

The ICRC has deplored the casualties and damage inflicted, and has called on all parties to the conflict to respect the principles of international humanitarian law.

In accordance with its fundamental principles of neutrality and impartiality, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is responding to humanitarian needs in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.


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