Following the work of IRC assessment teams on the ground, and commencement of aid flows from Egypt to Gaza, the IRC is initiating a response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the current conflict. We will add our efforts in a way which complements the activities of others on the ground. We will be focusing our work on the most urgent needs and in areas where IRC can add most value, using experience and expertise in emergency situations with credible partners, with a focus on health, women’s and children’s safety, and psychological support. We will be using the dedicated systems we have developed in a range of contexts, including robust monitoring and due diligence, to help ensure that aid reaches the civilians who desperately need it.
The last two weeks have shaken the Middle East and the wider world. Our own staff are grieving for lost relatives and friends. As a humanitarian organisation we stand on the side of those in need. The attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7th was reprehensible and horrific. Targeting civilians and taking civilians hostage is wrong. Our hearts go out to those who are grieving and those who are fearing for the fate of hostages. The ensuing conflict has resulted in major loss of civilian life and huge increase in humanitarian need among Palestinians. Civilians are suffering and in peril because they are trapped in the midst of a war. This demands our wholehearted empathy as well as action.
The humanitarian imperative, and the principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence and humanity which drive it forward, have never been more needed. Our work in the Middle East and North Africa region, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, which helped 6.3 million people last year, shows what is possible. That is our inspiration in the very difficult days that lie ahead.