|19-09-2006 ICRC News |
GAZA – ICRC Bulletin No. 07 / 2006
Latest report on ICRC activities in the field
Although the situation has calmed down somewhat in the Gaza Strip, civilians continue to be killed or injured during military operations and internal clashes. The economic situation is getting steadily worse and salaries have still not been paid to civil servants.
Over the past week, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have conducted military operations in the middle and the south of the Strip, leaving two people dead and two injured. Agricultural areas in the north have been shelled and others bulldozed.
Since 26 June, close to 230 Palestinians have been killed as a result of IDF military operations, including almost 80 women and children. According to the Al Mizan Human Rights Centre, fighting between Palestinian clans and militant groups has resulted in the death of 174 civilians, including 27 children, since the beginning of 2006.
Rockets from inside the Gaza Strip continue to fall on Israeli territory, threatening civilian lives and property. Over the past week one Israeli civilian has been injured and a Palestinian girl wounded by a rocket that went astray and landed in Beit Hanoun.
It is still difficult for Palestinians to enter or leave the Strip. The Rafah border crossing with Egypt has remained closed since it was opened for two days on 25 and 26 August. The Sufah crossing point opened in the last week of August to let in humanitarian aid. The main cargo transit point at Karni reopened on 10 September and remained open for most of the week. The Erez crossing point is open for humanitarian cases and international workers only.
It is still prohibited for fishermen to go out to sea.
ICRC and Red Cross / Red Crescent activities
Communities affected by electricity and water shortages continue to receive assistance
The ICRC has finished installing a generator donated by the Norwegian Red Cross to the Artificial Limb and Polio Orthopaedic Centre in Gaza City, the only centre in the Strip that produces prosthetics. The ICRC is also providing fuel for four months to operate the generator.
Thirteen other generators donated by the Norwegian Red Cross were installed earlier at water and wastewater pumping stations throughout the Strip.
Following the destruction of the Gaza power station in late June, the ICRC provided 120,000 litres of fuel for backup generators to keep water and sewage pumps operating until the EU's Temporary International Mechanism was able to ensure fuel supplies.
In the Shoka area, where over 70 families lost their homes and water-supply systems were destroyed during military incursions, the ICRC has set up water tanks to ensure the distribution of 56,000 litres of municipal water per month.
Families receive emergency assistance in Rafah and Gaza
The ICRC has distributed food parcels and hygiene kits to 87 Bedouin families forced by military incursions to relocate onto vacant UNRWA land in Rafah. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) provided 55 tents for the families.
Over the past week, an additional nine families have received tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items. Similar distributions are planned for another 50 families in Gaza City. Since late August, 189 families have received such aid from the ICRC.
Since the end of June, working with the PRCS, the ICRC has distributed hygiene items and food supplies for one month to over 800 families affected by military operations throughout the Gaza Strip.
Support to health services
The ICRC organized the delivery on 12 September of six emergency health kits donated to the PRCS by the Swiss Red Cross. Each kit contained enough material to treat 100 patients hospitalized for weapon wounds. In July and August the ICRC had provided three similar kits for medical facilities in Gaza.
The ICRC has also conducted a first map-reading training session for the PRCS in the north of Gaza to improve coordination when access is requested from military authorities to areas where emergency medical assistance is required.
Despite the military operations, the ICRC is continuing to facilitate the movement of PRCS ambulances and the evacuation of patients requiring treatment outside the Gaza Strip. It is also supporting PRCS emergency medical services, hospitals and primary health-care centres and facilitating the delivery of essential medical supplies.
Activities on behalf of detainees and their families
The ICRC's family visit programme for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons resumed on 13 August for detainees whose families live in Gaza. From 11 to 14 September 243 family members were able to visit 118 detainees in different places of detention.
The ICRC is maintaining contact with the relevant authorities and various Palestinian groups and has repeatedly expressed its desire to gain access to the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Both through these contacts and in its public statements, it has urged those holding the soldier to treat him humanely, to respect his life and dignity and to allow him to communicate with his family.
Facts and figures
Since the end of June, the ICRC has:
- installed 14 generators donated by the Norwegian Red Cross to ensure a continuous supply of electricity for water and wastewater pumping stations and an orthopaedic centre.
- provided 150,000 litres of fuel for generators at pumping stations and facilities such as the orthopaedic centre.
- set up water tanks to ensure the distribution of 56,000 litres of municipal water per month in places where incursions destroyed normal water distribution systems.
- distributed tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items, together with tents when required, to 367 families whose houses were destroyed or damaged.
- provided 708 families with hygiene articles and food supplies for one month.
- organized the delivery of six emergency health kits donated to the PRCS by the Swiss Red Cross. Each kit contains enough material to treat 100 patients hospitalized for weapon wounds.
- provided three similar kits for medical facilities throughout the Gaza Strip
- transferred 15 ICRC dressing kits (each with enough material for 50 dressings) to Gaza for quick distribution if required.
- provided advanced training on conflict-related emergencies for 17 surgeons in Gaza City and map-reading courses for PRCS emergency staff.
- enabled 1,798 Gaza Strip residents to visit 800 relatives held in Israeli places of detention under a family visit programme that resumed on 13 August.
For further information, please contact:
Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
Bana Sayeh, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 57 880 91 93
Bernard Barrett, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 57 221 55 09
Yael Eytan, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 52 275 75 17 or +972 35 24 52 86