Gaza- ICRC Bulletin No. 11 / 2006
19-10-2006 Operational Update
Latest Report on ICRC activities in the field
The past week saw a rise in the number of violent incidents, both in terms of Israeli military incursions and internal Palestinian clashes. A number of incursions by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into both the northern Gaza Strip and areas east of Khan Younis in the south resulted in 19 deaths and more than 30 injuries. At least six houses were destroyed by airstrikes. Neighbouring houses, agricultural land and irrigation systems were also damaged.
At least three people were killed as clashes between supporters of Hamas and Fatah intensified, resulting in kidnappings, murders, street shootings and injuries to bystanders. Another 17 people were wounded in family disputes.
There was also an increase in the number of rockets fired at Israel. At least 10 were launched during the week, wounding three Israeli civilians and causing a power cut of several hours in the border town of Sderot.
The Rafah border crossing to Egypt was opened on 8 October for pilgrims. The Karni cargo terminal remained open all week for humanitarian aid and construction material, as did the Sufa terminal. The Erez terminal was opened for international organizations only. However, the tight restrictions on access to the sea by fishermen remain in force.
ICRC and Red Cross / Red Crescent activities
The ICRC continues to facilitate the movements, during military operations, of ambulances operated by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) as wel l as the evacuation of patients requiring treatment outside the Gaza Strip. It supports PRCS emergency medical services, hospitals and primary health-care centres, and facilitates the delivery of essential medical supplies.
Within the framework of ICRC support for health-care facilities, delegates met with hospital administrators throughout the Gaza Strip to discuss the availability of supplies, the needs of the patients and other matters.
During the past week, the ICRC distributed household relief kits to two families in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza whose houses had been destroyed. The kits contained tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items. Since late August, 297 families have received such aid from the ICRC.
The ICRC also distributed ad hoc emergency aid in the form of food parcels and hygiene kits to two families whose houses were occupied by IDF forces in the Beit Lahia district of the northern Gaza Strip.
The ICRC's family-visit programme for Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons resumed on 13 August in the Gaza Strip. However, during the past week no visits were carried out because of the Succot Holidays in Israel.
The ICRC maintains its contacts with the authorities and with various Palestinian groups, and constantly reiterates its desire to gain access to the captured Israeli soldier 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 continuous electricity for drinking-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 other 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 IDF had destroyed existing distribution systems
- distributed tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets and other essential household items including tents (when required) to 475 families whose houses had been destroyed or damaged
- provided 835 families with parcels containing food sufficient 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 2,710 people from the Gaza Strip to visit relatives (1,246 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 57 880 91 93
Bernard Barrett, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 2 582 88 45 or + 972 57 221 55 09