Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
The International Rescue Committee joins the United Nations and others in the humanitarian aid community in calling on all parties in the Gaza crisis to adhere to international humanitarian law and ensure that civilians have full access to medical care and other humanitarian assistance.
News reports today indicate that more than 570 Palestinians, many of them women and children, have been killed in the violence that began on December 27 following the breakdown of a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Thousands have fled to safety, but most of the 1.5 million people in Gaza have nowhere to go as both Israel and Egypt continue to restrict access to their territories.
The United Nations says the humanitarian crisis is growing as food supplies dwindle, access to clean water diminishes and hospitals fill up with the wounded and dead. More than a million people are said to be without electricity.
According to UNICEF, “The humanitarian crisis caused by the current violence in Gaza is hitting children and women the most. Children form over half of Gaza's population...and are the first to be psychologically distressed, the most in need of medical support and the most exposed to injuries among civilians in times of conflict.”
In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres called for strict adherence to humanitarian principles in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, including respect for the universal right of those fleeing war to seek safety in other states.