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Gaza – ICRC Bulletin No. 13 / 2006

03-11-2006 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

  General situation  

    

Since 1 November the residents of the city of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip have been suffering the consequences of the intensive military operations launched by the Israeli army.

Hospitals in the area have reported an influx of wounded and a number of fatalities. The Beit Hanoun hospital experienced a temporary water and power cut.

Water shortages in different parts of Beit Hanoun have also been reported to the ICRC by the Palestinian authorities.

The situation remains tense in other parts of the Gaza Strip, though there were fewer violent incidents during the Eid al-Fitr holiday than in previous weeks. During the last week of October, Israeli military operations in the north and south of the Strip continued to affect the Palestinian population, while further rockets were launched into Israel.

Passage into and out of Gaza was eased at certain crossing points during the holiday. Following representations by the ICRC, some of the restrictions on access to the sea were lifted. For instance, fishermen have been authorized to go out as far as six nautical miles off the central Gaza Strip to fish for sardines. The ICRC has been closely following this issue since the sardine season is of central importance to the livelihood of Gaza fishermen.

  ICRC and other Red Cross / Red Crescent activities  

Since the beginning of the military operations in Beit Hanoun, the ICRC has facilitated the movement of ambulances operated by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Ministry of Health in at least nine instances so that the wounded could be safely evacuated and treated. Other patients are currently being evacuated in cooperation with the ICRC.

During the same period, a kit containing enough medical supplies to treat 100 war-wounded patients was delivered to the Ministry of Health by the ICRC. At the request of the authorities, and with the agreement of all parties, the ICRC escorted technicians from the electricity company to Beit Hanoun so that they could restore power for the Beit Hanoun hospital. Furthermore, it delivered 650 litres of fuel with which to run the generator in case of new power cuts. The hospital now has enough fuel to keep the generator running for 48 hours.

Responding to the most urgent needs, the ICRC also provided 180 litres of drinking water for the Beit Hanoun Hospital. It plans to install water tanks in various locations across the city.

During the last week of October, the ICRC facilitated the movement of PRCS ambulances during military operations, as well as the evacuation of patients requiring treatment outside the Gaza Strip.

Household relief kits were also distributed to four families in northern Gaza whose houses had been destroyed during Israeli military operations.

During this period, 118 people from Gaza used the ICRC's family-visit programme to see 53 family members held in seven places of detention in Israel.

The ICRC maintains its contacts with authorities and with various Palestinian groups and constantly reiterates its request to gain access to the captured Israeli sol dier Gilad Shalit. Through these contacts and its public statements, the ICRC urges those holding the soldier to treat him humanely, to respect his life and dignity and to allow him to communicate with his family.
 

  ICRC facts and figures   Since the end of June, the ICRC has:  
  • installed 14 generators donated by the Norwegian Red Cross to ensure a continuous electricity supply for water and waste-water pumping stations as well as a limb-fitting centre
  • provided 150,000 litres of fuel for generators at pumping stations and facilities such as the limb-fitting centre
  • installed water tanks to enable 56,000 litres of drinking water per month to be distributed where the Israel Defense Forces had destroyed existing distribution systems
  • distributed tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items including tents (when required) to 505 families whose houses had been destroyed or damaged
  • provided 839 families with parcels containing sufficient food for one month as well as hygiene items
  • organized the delivery of six emergency surgical kits donated by the Swiss Red Cross to the PRCS, each containing supplies sufficient to treat 100 patients hospitalized because of wounds from weapons
  • provided three similar kits to medical facilities throughout the Gaza Strip
  • transferred 15 ICRC dressing kits (each with material for 50 dressings) to Gaza for rapid distribution if required
  • provided advanced training on conflict-related emergencies for 17 surgeons in Gaza City and map-reading courses for PRCS emergency staff
  • since the resumption of the family-visit programme on 13 August, enabled 3,040 people from the Gaza Strip to visit relatives (1,392 in all) being held in Israeli places of detention.
  •  
      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 52 601 91 48
      Caspar Landolt, ICRC Jerusalem, tel. +972 2 582 88 45 or + 972 52 601 91 49