A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
Twelve days of hostilities have resulted in a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, putting the lives and livelihoods of some 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip at risk. According to the United Nations, 242 Palestinians were killed in Gaza between 10 May and the start of the ceasefire on 21 May, including 66 children and 38 women2 . In addition, the number of internally displaced people has increased to 91,000. There are still roughly 1,000 people whose homes have been demolished or severely damaged. Concerns have been raised about the spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable persons huddled in overcrowded shelters and the healthcare system’s inability to cope.
The hostilities have also wreaked havoc on Gaza’s vital infrastructure disrupting hundreds of thousands of people’s access to electricity, fuel, water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
Electrical power outages and the damage to the Gaza Ministry of Health Central Laboratory, which performs COVID-19 testing, have hampered health services in dozens of Gaza medical centres. Hundreds of structures and residences have been destroyed, damaged, or rendered uninhabitable.
The land port of Rafah is the only gate at the Egyptian-Palestinian border crossing. It opened a day earlier than intended to allow students, passengers, and injured individuals and their families to pass through. On a daily basis, roughly 200 passengers travel by, except for Friday and Saturday.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health (MoH) has dispatched roughly 160 ambulances to the border in preparation for the arrival of casualties. A medical committee from MoH was present at the border crossing to evaluate the casualties as they arrived and distribute them among three designated hospitals in North Sinai with cases being sent to Cairo if more medical assistance is required. The Egyptian Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Ministry of Health work closely together to transfer cases that require advanced or additional medical attention.
The Rafah Gate has remained open for humanitarian aid and civilians crossing to Gaza till now. Although the number of people entering has lessened since the ceasefire on May 21st, ERC is still responding to the affected people who have come through from Gaza and are continuing to come, with the possibility of scaling up if the situation worsens.
ERC, in coordination with local authorities at the border, is assisting passengers, injured people, and relatives in obtaining the necessary documents at the port, as well as providing them PFA and light meal.
In response to the clashes in Gaza, the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) opened 24-hour operations centers at its headquarters, North Sinai, and Ismailia branches in July 2014 to provide humanitarian aid to Palestinians. Around 500 tons of humanitarian aid (medicines, medical supplies, relief items, and food) were supplied by ERC, as well as four ambulances and fifteen cars provided by other movement partners, international organizations, and governments. The ERC's role in coordinating relief support to Gaza in collaboration with the PRCS and the Palestinian Ministry of Health, including procurement, customs clearance at borders, and direct transfer by ERC to Palestine, remains crucial.