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Gaza: ICRC medics work on

09-01-2009 News Release 09/08

Geneva/Jerusalem/Tel Aviv (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is maintaining most of its humanitarian activities in Gaza while trying to clarify the circumstances under which one of its convoys came under fire on 8 January.

   Key activities such as the work of the ICRC surgical team at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City will continue. However, the ICRC will not be conducting relief convoys outside Gaza City today, 9 January.

" Work continues, even though the ICRC won't be moving outside Gaza City today, " said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. " We hope to be able to send out convoys and staff from Gaza City as soon as the circumstances of the incident have been clarified with the authorities concerned. "

Meanwhile, the medical team headed by a war surgeon has been working flat out to assist medical staff at Shifa Hospital, which is the main referral hospital in the Gaza Strip.

" We are impressed by the professionalism and efficiency of the medical personnel, " said Alice Nielsen, a nurse with the surgical team. " Wounded people are arriving all the time. Despite the chaotic situation, the seriously wounded can be on the operating table within 20 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Many come in with multiple stomach and head wounds. In many cases, we are forced to amputate limbs.”

The ICRC and the Palestine Red Crescent Society continue to evacuate casualties in Gaza City and surrounding areas. Access to wounded people remains a top priority.

 For further information, please contact  

 Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18  

 Anne-Sophie Bonefeld, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 50  

 Iyad Nasr, ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 59 960 30 15 (Arabic)  

 Yael Segev-Eytan, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 3 524 52 86 or +972 52 275 75 17 (Hebrew)  

 Nadia Dibsy, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 5917900 or +972 52 601 91 48 (A  rabic)