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Aid agency roundup: Gaza crisis 'spiralling out of control'

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 1 Aug 2014 14:38 GMT
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A Palestinian girl carries a child across rubble from a building that police said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in the Burij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip August 1, 2014. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
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(Updates with ICRC statement)

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Israel declared a Gaza ceasefire over on Friday, saying Hamas militants breached the truce soon after it came in effect and apparently captured an Israeli officer while killing two other soldiers.

Renewed Israeli shelling killed more than 50 Palestinians and wounded some 220, hospital officials said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his security cabinet into special session and publicly warned Hamas and other militant groups they would "bear the consequences of their actions".

Gaza officials say at least 1,509 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and 7,000 wounded. Sixty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed and more than 400 hurt. Three civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets in Israel.

Here is a summary of the humanitarian response. If your agency is involved in emergency efforts, please email us at news.foundation@thomsonreuters.com.

ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was "appalled" by the damage caused to the hospitals and branch offices of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) during the conflict in Gaza.

It said a PRCS compound in Khan Younis came under attack on Friday, and that about 250 people were sheltering in the compound when it was hit.

Two days ago, the main PRCS hospital and administrative facility were caught in the crossfire.

“PRCS staff and volunteers have been working round the clock to save lives, bring help and keep hope alive; with the worsening of the conflict, the obstacles to their work and the danger they face have grown alarmingly,” said Robert Mardini, head of ICRC operations for the Near and Middle East.

“The PRCS are doing vital, extraordinary work and they must be allowed to continue doing so in safety. The collapse of the humanitarian space must be averted at all costs. Once again, the ICRC calls on the parties to stop the killing, injuring and endangering of civilians and large-scale destruction of civilian property," Mardini said in a statement.

Oxfam

Oxfam warned on Friday that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is ‘spiralling out of control’, with 450,000 people sheltering, and many people getting as little as three litres of safe water a day. It also said the risks of disease are growing acute, with thirty cases of meningitis reported.

Oxfam is working with local partners to supply water to over 70,000 people. It has also been working with hospitals, but six of Gaza’s nine hospitals have been hit or badly damaged, with three now closed.

“The massive destruction of infrastructure and the ongoing Israeli bombardment means aid workers are increasingly overwhelmed and struggling to meet even basic needs,” said the charity in a statement.

Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World said on Friday that hospitals were facing shortages of medical supplies and a chronic lack of fuel.

“These issues have been exacerbated by frequent electricity cuts, often for more than 20 hours a day, due to the recent bombing of Gaza's power plant,” it said in a statement

“We are running out of space in hospital for the huge number of bodies that are coming in,” says Dr. Hosam Abu-Elwan, a Doctors of the World volunteer who works at the Nasser hospital in Gaza. “There is also a lack of basic drugs.”

Mercy Corps

"Our teams were out this morning when the ceasefire was broken – they scrambled back to safety and luckily no one was hurt. But, coordination of humanitarian relief is becoming more and more difficult," said Stu Willcuts, director of Mercy Corps' Gaza humanitarian response.

"We are without power in Gaza so phones and laptops are dying. Phone towers are being taken down by air strikes. With shelling and bombing 24 hours a day, the very fact that our teams are able to work at all, is beyond words," he said in a statement.

(Editing by Katie Nguyen; katie.nguyen@thomsonreuters.com) 

 

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