ALEXANDRIA, Va – Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has released the following statement:
Islamic Relief staff in Gaza report that children are making up an increasingly high proportion of the casualties, with the latest figures showing a child being killed approximately every five minutes over the last two days1.
As civilians and aid workers continue to come under attack, Islamic Relief can confirm that its main office in Gaza City has been badly damaged by bombing in recent days. Although nobody was inside at the time, the office is now no longer functional. We strongly condemn all attacks on humanitarian workers, facilities and operations.
Our teams continue to deliver vital food and other aid to thousands of displaced families, but aid workers are finding it increasingly dangerous. More than 30 humanitarian workers and health workers have now been killed, according to the UN.
The humanitarian crisis is mounting every hour, yet Gaza is still under Israeli siege and all aid into the area is blocked. An announcement that an initial 20 aid trucks will be allowed through the Rafah crossing with Egypt has yet to materialise and the trucks are still waiting to enter, with the UN saying they continue to face restrictions. Heavy Israeli bombing around Rafah has caused massive damage to the roads, making it even more challenging to get the aid through.
Even if they do enter, 20 trucks are only a tiny fraction of what is needed. Before the escalation about 100 trucks of aid entered Gaza every day – and now the needs are far greater.
Many families are running out of food, with people queuing for hours to get anything to eat. Only one five mills in Gaza is still working and supplies of flour are rapidly depleting. The lack of fuel and medical supplies means that hospitals have to choose which patients to treat, and surgeons say they are using vinegar to treat wounds as they have nothing else left.
Hospitals, ambulances, mosques, churches, schools and shelters for displaced families have all been bombed in recent days, and almost one in every three homes is now damaged or destroyed. Mosques including the Great Omari Mosque have been bombed, as well as a major historic church where civilians have been taking refuge.
Islamic Relief is calling for an immediate ceasefire and for international law to be upheld. All parties have a duty to protect civilians from harm, avoid targeting civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and humanitarian facilities, and ensure that civilians have access to basic necessities such as water, food and power. At the moment that duty is clearly not being met.
1 According to figures published by the United Nations, the death toll in Gaza has risen above 4,000 including at least 1,524 children. At least 671 of those children were reported killed in the last two days. 1,400 people in Israel have been killed.
Syed M. Hassan
(571) 421-7032 (CELL)
Islamic Relief USA, based in Alexandria, Va., is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization. Its mission is to provide relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. Its programs benefit millions of people each year in more than 40 countries around the world, including in the United States.
Islamic Relief USA meets all of the Standards for Charity Accountability of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity monitoring group affiliated with the Better Business Bureau system. Islamic Relief USA is on the U.S. government’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity list, and it is also a signatory to the code of conduct of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.