UN Humanitarian report from Gaza 4/1/08

The latest information on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza can be downloaded from the UN Office of Coordination of Human Afairs.

The situation is extremely bleak – Israel, with the unrelenting support of its accomplice, the US Bush administration, continues to violate human rights and Geneva Conventions. A hospital ambulance has been shelled and food distribution has been stopped except in southern Gaza. Hospital generators are about to collapse.

Some quotes from the 4th January report:

“Israeli forces are now deployed in several areas of the Gaza Strip with clashes taking place between Israeli forces and militants. Damage and destruction of roads, infrastructure and buildings has been reported, including to a large gas storage facility. The military incursion compounds the humanitarian crisis following more than a week of shelling and an 18-month long blockade of the territory. There is an increased threat to civilians due to combat in densely populated urban areas. Hospitals continue to be overstretched because of the large number of casualties that have accumulated since the beginning of Israeli attacks, and ambulances and medical personnel face dificulties in accessing casualties. Electricity and telecommunications are down over much of the Strip.

Food distributions have been suspended and all crossing points remain closed.”

This morning, an ambulance of Al Awda hospital in the north was shelled, seriously injuring 4 medical staff. Palestine Square in central Gaza City was also hit, reportedly killing 5 civilians and injuring another 40 persons. Prior to the ground incursion, 15 Palestinians were killed and more than 25 injured when the Israeli Air Force bombarded the Ibrahim Al Makadima Mosque in Beit Lahiya.

There is an almost total blackout in the governorates of Gaza, North Gaza, Middle Area, and Khan Yunis. Most of the telephone network (both land lines and cell phones) in Gaza is also not functioning since it
now depends on back-up generators with dwindling fuel stocks.

All of Gaza City hospitals have been without mains electricity for 48 consecutive hours, depending entirely on back-up generators. The hospitals warn that the generators are close to collapse. At the Shifa hospital, collapse would have immediate consequences for 70 intensive care unit (ICU) patients including 30 in the neonatal care who are connected to machines. ICUs throughout the Gaza Strip are overloaded. The
security situation is also preventing medical staff from reaching hospitals.Ambulances are experiencing dificulty in reaching the injured because of continuous ire. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society continues to work around the clock in order to assist the population. From Friday to Saturday midday, its ambulances transported 78 wounded to hospitals. Fifteen fatalities were also transported.

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