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ICRC carry on in aftermath of recent violence in Gaza

5 December 2012

Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory: ICRC and national societies carry on in aftermath of recent violence

As people begin to recover from the recent hostilities, the ICRC and its partners within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are carrying on with their humanitarian work.

Destruction and trauma continue to affect the lives of civilians in the wake of recent hostilities between Israel and Gaza. "While the cease-fire allowed the population to go back to their usual routine, the harsh reality of life in Gaza continues to exact its toll on people living there," said Patrick Gueissaz, head of the ICRC’s sub-delegation in Gaza. "The escalation of violence is over, but the long-term issues, such as the chronic shortage of drugs and disposables in health-care facilities, and restrictions on movement, have yet to be resolved."

During the hostilities and in their immediate aftermath, the ICRC coordinated its efforts with the Palestine Red Crescent Society, Magen David Adom in Israel and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to meet the most pressing needs, for example by providing support for health-care providers and emergency assistance for people whose houses had been destroyed. "Whenever possible now, we are resuming our usual activities such as visiting detainees, helping ensure that people have the opportunity to earn an adequate and stable income and making improvements to water and sanitation infrastructure," said Mr Gueissaz.

After reminding the parties to the conflict of their responsibilities, in particular with regard to civilians and to medical personnel and services, the ICRC is now documenting observations made concerning the conduct of recent hostilities. The organization's findings will be discussed bilaterally with the authorities concerned.

Between 16 November and 3 December, the ICRC:

• provided, together with the Palestine Red Crescent, over 3,700 plastic sheets, nearly 600 tarpaulins and other emergency items such as food, kitchen utensils, blankets, hygiene items and tents for some 4,000 families whose houses had been partially damaged or completely destroyed;
• supplied the only provider of surgical care in northern Gaza with a truckload of medicines and disposable items;
• delivered several wheelchairs and walking aids to two Gaza hospitals;
• made arrangements for a shipment of 300,000 litres of fuel from Rafah, southern Gaza, to Gaza’s power station;
• facilitated the entry into the Strip of a number of trucks carrying medical supplies and drugs from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health in Ramallah;
• coordinated the transfer of 2,000 litres of fuel to Shawa Hospital in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip, to avert major disruptions to vital medical services;
• worked with Gaza water authorities and provided them with spare parts and other supplies needed to repair water infrastructure damaged during the hostilities;
• visited, with Magen David Adom, areas in Israel affected by the recent violence to assess the needs of the population;
• conducted a joint visit with the Egyptian Red Crescent and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to Al Arish, an area within Egypt bordering Gaza.

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