Main Navigation

Gaza: respect the cease-fire

Red Cross calls for all sides to respect permanent cease-fire and extend support to Gaza.

Monday September 1, 2014

The conflict has severely damaged Gaza's already fragile water and sewage networks. Photo: ICRC

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling for stronger support to the affected people in Gaza to ensure a quick recovery in light of the permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The call comes as the Vice President of the IFRC, Dr Francesco Rocca, finished a visit to Gaza, 50 days after military operations started.

"We, the IFRC and our 189 National Societies, cannot accept the suffering of the Gazans. During my visit, I saw a dramatic destruction all around. We need to extend our support to the Palestinian Red Crescent services. This is why I'm urging the international community for a strong mobilization of resources for Gaza," said Dr Rocca.

He also stressed the imperative need to lift the blockade on Gaza to allow the humanitarian aid to reach the affected populations.

In Gaza, at least 2101 people have been killed and 10,224 injured. Approximately 70 per cent of them were civilians. More than 17,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged and 216 schools have been damaged. At least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. Preliminary estimates indicate that up to 1000 of the children injured will have a permanent disability.

A large number of explosives, remnants of the fighting, have also been dispersed throughout civilian areas, adding to the threats on the population.

Humanitarian priorities include provision of relief items, medical equipment, medical supplies, generators and fuel for health facilities, mobile health care teams, psychosocial support and temporary shelters. In addition, there is an urgent need to refer some of the casualties to specialised hospitals outside Gaza.

Australian Red Cross' Director of International Humanitarian Law and Movement Relations, Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope, said the most vulnerable - the children, the elderly, the sick and the wounded - had been paying the highest price in the conflict.

"We must continue to advocate for international humanitarian law to be respected at all times. Attacks against civilians and civilian objects are prohibited under international humanitarian law."

"It must be remembered that even wars have laws and there are limits on how hostilities can be conducted. The ceasefire provides an opportunity to reflect on the obligations parties to the conflict have in the protection of civilians, medical facilities and humanitarian relief," Dr Wynn-Pope said.

"Ensuring the provision of the fundamental necessities for the survival of the civilian population is an obligation on all parties to the conflict."