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Unbearable human tragedy unfolding in Gaza: ICRC

Palestinians look for survivors following an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, November 12, 2023. (A photo by AP)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned an unbearable human tragedy is unfolding across Gaza. 

In a statement released on Monday, the ICRC said Israeli strikes targeting heavily populated urban areas including around hospitals endanger the lives of the most vulnerable people.

The ICRC is gravely concerned by the precarious and unsafe conditions under which civilians are evacuating as a result of the Israeli bombardment, the statement said.

“Men, women, and children, waving white flags, walk for dozens of kilometers past dead bodies lying on the streets and without necessities like food and water. At the same time, the ICRC teams in Gaza and hotline operators receive numerous calls from displaced people searching for their family members. It is paramount that members of the same family are not separated during evacuations.”

While civilians continue to move from the north to the south of Gaza, virtually 100,000 displaced people lack basic necessities such as shelter, food, water, and hygiene. The situation is rapidly approaching a humanitarian disaster, the ICRC warned.

The southern area is not adequately equipped to cater to the massive number of people arriving with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, and the quantity of humanitarian aid coming in is largely insufficient, the ICRC underscored.

Meanwhile, William Schomburg, the head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza, urgently called for the protection of those civilians trapped in Gaza.

“An unbearable human tragedy is unfolding in front of our eyes. People call us day and night, saying they are afraid to open their door for fear of getting killed and pleading to help them reach safety,” said Schomburg. “As a humanitarian worker, I feel frustrated not to be able to respond to these calls, as our teams lack basic security conditions to move in North Gaza.”

Over the past days, the ICRC has coordinated, and in some cases accompanied, convoys to evacuate hospital patients and displaced persons from northern Gaza.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the situation in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital as dire and perilous for hundreds of patients and displaced people trapped inside. The hospital’s last generator has also run out of fuel, leading to the death of five premature babies and seven critical patients.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas denies a claim that it rejected Israel’s fuel offer to Shifa Hospital. The director of the medical facility also called the Israeli claim a propaganda stunt. Palestinian officials say all hospitals in the north of the Gaza Strip are out of service.

Israel has killed over 11,200 Palestinians, including more than 8,000 women and children, in Gaza since October 7.

People around the world continue to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinians, demanding an end to the Israeli savagery.

Hundreds of people attended a rally in Australia’s biggest city of Sydney.

Spaniards packed an underground station in Barcelona.

In Ireland’s capital, Dublin, protesters urged their government to expel the Israeli ambassador.

South Africans held a new demonstration in Cape Town. They also demanded the expulsion of Israel’s envoy and the closure of the embassy.

Similar demonstrations were held in the capitals of France, Germany, Belgium and Britain. In London, over 300,000 people marched on the US embassy.

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