Statement by Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC Near and Middle East Director

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"The International Committee of the Red Cross welcomes this ceasefire after 11 intense days of torment, death and destruction for civilians in Gaza and in Israel.
Statement 21 May 2021 Israel and the occupied territories

The focus now must be on support for reconstruction and recovery. The damage inflicted in less than two weeks will take years, if not decades, to rebuild.

We have seen that every conflict takes people in Gaza to a level lower. After each cycle of violence, they never have a possibility to fully recover, causing huge frustration and a real crisis of hope.

Some families who had their homes destroyed in 2014 are still housed in temporary rentals supplied by aid organizations.

The ICRC is looking at meeting emergency needs like surgeries and water and energy repairs.

We are also focused on long-term needs like rebuilding infrastructure and crucial mental health support.

One of our priorities is to bring in extra medical supplies to support an already-fragile health system under immense strain, also coping with the spread of COVID-19.

We're supporting repairs of the water system, wastewater system and power network already and want to step it up.

An estimated 700,000 Palestinians are affected by damage to power and electricity infrastructure, with water supply decreased by 40%.

Thousands of people have lost their homes, businesses and places of work and will need huge support to get back on their feet.

Farmers couldn't access their land since the escalation, leaving crops un-watered and animals un-tended to since the beginning of the escalation. There were fears that harvests might be lost.

Weapons contamination is also a lingering threat to lives. It's thought that there are several hundred unexploded ordnances littering the Gaza Strip after this latest escalation.

It will take years to rebuild and even longer to rebuild fractured lives. For those, who witnessed the attacks or lost their loved ones the grief remains. There is a lot of work to be done to give them the support they need now."

For more information, please contact:

Suhair Zakkout (Gaza): or +972 599 255 381

Christoph Hanger (Tel Aviv/Jerusalem): or +972 526 019 150

Yahia Masswadeh (Jerusalem): or +972 526 019 148

Sara Alzawqari (Beirut): or +961 3 138 353

Ruth Hetherington (Geneva): or +33 6 33 2888 23

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