Ceasefire vital to get humanitarian relief into Gaza
29 December 2008
Caritas is calling for an immediate end both to Hamas rocket attacks into southern Israel and Israeli bombardments of Gaza to enable humanitarian relief supplies to get through.
Caritas Internationalis, the confederation of 162 national Catholic charities, says the loss of innocent civilian lives has been deplorable.
Over 300 people have been killed and 700 wounded by the Israeli attacks, included in the Palestinian fatalities are children. The Hamas rockets are reported to have killed two people in Israel.
Caritas is concerned that current developments will make the already difficult humanitarian situation for most Gaza residents and Caritas programmes in Gaza even more difficult.
Caritas Jerusalem, our member in the Holy Land, provides basic primary health care services to ordinary Palestinians through a main centre, a mobile clinic, and a series of medical points.
Caritas Jerusalem says its medical relief operations in Gaza have been disrupted by the Israelis attacks.
Caritas Jerusalem’s Secretary-General Claudette Habesch said, “Humanitarian operations have become difficult. Our work continues but movement inside Gaza has become dangerous because of the Israeli bombardments. Our staff can’t reach our medical centre but will try to help through hospitals that they can reach.
“The bombardment comes on top of a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with the Israeli closure of border crossings resulting in an acute lack of food and basic medical supplies.
“All sides must protect the lives of civilians and end the current cycle of violence. The international community must use all its influence to ensure existing peace accords and resolutions are upheld.”
Doctors are unable to reach the main Caritas medical centre in Al Shati Camp in Gaza City because its in an area under direct bombardment. The Caritas mobile clinic is also unable to move around Gaza.
Six medical points in remote areas of Gaza Strip remain operational, each providing primary health care services to 1,500 people per medical point.
Border closures prior to the bombardment have left hospitals without basic supplies such as antiseptic and antibiotics, according to Caritas Jerusalem staff. They say the medical services are unable to cope with the wounded.
Contact Patrick Nicholson on 0039 334 359 0700