What you need to know about the Gaza Crisis
On July 8, 2014, Israel launched an offensive on Gaza with airstrikes and ground operations. After 50 days of conflict, an indefinite ceasefire came into force, 50 days during which more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, thousands wounded, tens of thousands in dire need of emergency aid and large parts of Gaza razed to rubble.
With resources, especially hospitals and medical facilities, already under severe strain, the population of Gaza found itself facing further suffering and uncertainty during the conflict.
The medical crisis
“Gaza is completely missing about 30 per cent of essential drugs, while 15 per cent of the remainder is expected to be exhausted within days.” – Gaza’s Health Ministry
“Medical supplies have made their way to Palestine from Islamic Help and our partners UMR. We must continue to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. It is our responsibility.” – Saif Ahmad, Islamic Help CEO
The humanitarian crisis
The escalation of Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip exacerbated the protracted humanitarian crisis.
As the number of dead and injured rose daily, UNRWA, the UN agency on the ground in Gaza, declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip, citing a 22 million dollar deficiency of basic necessities. The United Nations and Palestine Red Crescent Society also reported a lack of critical medicine in the Gaza Strip.
Compounding the situation for the Palestinian people, the closure of major charities in the West Bank during the crisis meant many Palestinians, including orphans, endured Ramadan without the basic essentials.
When the indefinite ceasefire came into effect on August 26, the extent of the damage became clearer. According to UN figures:
- The number of deaths in Gaza was 2,104, including 1,462 civilians, among which were 495 children, 253 women and about 200 elderly people
- 10,224 Palestinians were wounded, of which 3,106 were children. A third of these youngsters will have a permanent disability
- During the conflict, the number of Palestinians displaced by fighting reached over 500,000 – 28% of Gaza’s 1.8 million population
- At least 108,000 will remain displaced in the long term because of damage to their homes – nearly 18,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or severely damaged
- At least 244 schools were damaged, among which 25 were entirely destroyed or severely damaged, and 500,000 children were unable to start the new school year
- 58 hospitals and clinics were among large sections of Gaza’s infrastructure which were severely damaged.
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