Agencies call for health workers in Gaza to be respected

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 07 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b30
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    The United Nations and international relief agencies fear that continuation of Israel’s onslaught in the Gaza Strip could exacerbate what they already define as a crisis.

    Pierre Krahenbuhl, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said, “We’re dealing with a full blown crisis in humanitarian terms,” adding that the situation was “extreme, traumatic, and intolerable.”

    “Access to medical care is worsening by the day, and many people are not getting the emergency care they need,” he said in a news conference on 6 January. He added, “Some people are dying because ambulances are not getting there in time. It’s appalling.”

    Mr Krahenbuhl called on the warring sides to respect medical workers, who are trying to collect and evacuate wounded people.

    He said that an ambulance station at Jabalia was hit in raids over night and that hospitals had also been affected by collateral damage from nearby bombing.

    With the intensification of hostilities 580 to 600 people were reported dead and about 3000 wounded in Gaza. In neighbouring southern Israel, an estimated four people have died and 60 injured as a result of rocket attacks.

    Unicef said that more than 70 Palestinian children had been killed and at least 650 injured.

    Paul Garwood, …

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