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Gaza - ICRC Bulletin No. 8 / 2006

27-09-2006 Operational Update

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

 
General situation
 

The past week was marked by growing tension inside the Gaza Strip, as the economic situation continued to deteriorate and civil servant salaries remained unpaid.

 

The people living in southern Gaza were particularly affected by the incursions and military operations carried out by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). In one village, thirteen houses were destroyed and one was damaged, land was levelled, trees were uprooted and the irrigation system was destroyed. At least seven Palestinians were killed and twelve injured in various encounters with the IDF.

 

Rockets from inside the Gaza Strip continued to fall on Israeli territory, threatening civilian lives and property. In the past week, one Israeli civilian was injured and a school was damaged.

 

For the first time since the end of August, the Rafah border crossing reopened for three days last week, allowing thousands of people to cross in both directions. The Sufa crossing point was open for humanitarian assistance and for merchants, and the main cargo transit point at Karni remained open for imports and exports. The Erez crossing point was open only for humanitarian cases and staff of international organizations. It was completely closed for two days last week after an attack on the checkpoint.

Access to the sea for fishermen remains prohibited.

 
ICRC and Red Cross / Red Crescent activities
 

During the past week, the ICRC distributed household relief kits to 42 families in the Rafah and Khan Younis areas whose houses had been destroyed. The kits contain tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items. Since late August, the ICRC has distributed such kits to 231 families.

The ICRC also distributed ad hoc emergency assistance in the form of food parcels and hygiene kits to 67 families in the Gaza district.

The Egyptian Red Crescent Society donated seven truckloads of food, including sugar, rice and flour, to the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza.

Despite the military operations, the ICRC continued to facilitate the movement of Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and the evacuation of patients requiring treatment outside the Gaza Strip. It provided support for PRCS emergency medical services, hospitals and primary health care centres and facilitated the delivery of essential medical supplies.

The ICRC's family visit programme for Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons resumed on 13 August for families living in the Gaza Strip. From 18 to 21 September, 506 family members were able to visit 232 detainees in five different Israeli 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 Mr Shalit 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 fourteen generators donated by the Norwegian Red Cross to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electrical power for water and waste-water pumping stations and for the orthopaedic centre;

  • provided 150,000 litres of fuel for generators at pumping stations and facilities such as the orthopaedic centre;

  • set up water reservoirs to allow the distribution of 56,000 litres of municipal water per month where incursions destroyed normal water distribution systems;

  • distributed tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items, including tents when required, to 409 families whose houses were destroyed or damaged;

  • provided 775 families with parcels containing sufficient food for one month and hygiene items;

  • organized the delivery of six emergency health kits donated by the Swiss Red Cross to the PRCS (each kit contains enough material to treat 100 patients hospitalized with war wounds);

  • 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 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 2,304 family members from the Gaza Strip to visit 1,032 detainees in Israeli places of detention since the resumption of the family visit programme 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