ALEXANDRIA, Va – Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has released the following statement:
Islamic Relief has lost contact with its staff in Gaza, and Palestinians are unable to contact their loved ones following the severing of internet and mobile communications links in the occupied enclave as part of an intensification of military operations. The death toll in Gaza and Israel since October 7 has now reached 9,000, including over 7,700 Palestinians – more than 3,500 of them children.
Islamic Relief is renewing its call for an immediate ceasefire, imploring all parties in the conflict and the wider international community to implement a new UN resolution that was passed yesterday, calling for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities”.
Communications links were cut on the evening of October 27 in advance of a land and aerial offensive overnight in which bombardment of Gaza is reported to have reached its most intense level yet. Casualty figures may take some time to be confirmed without communications links, but the most recent figures from the Ministry of Health in Gaza state that the number of Palestinians injured since October 7 has reached 7,703, with a further 18,967 injured. Additionally, about 1,700 people, including at least 940 children, have been reported missing and may be trapped or dead under the rubble.
Islamic Relief is appalled by the huge human cost of the bombardment, and is joining United Nations organisations and other agencies in urgent calls for an immediate ceasefire. It is also urging the international community to ensure communications links are restored and humanitarian aid operations are scaled up.
“We are calling for an immediate ceasefire to bring an end to this horrendous, brutal attack on the citizens of Gaza and prevent further loss of life,” an Islamic Relief spokesperson said. “Hospitals and aid agencies must be able to tend the wounded and reach the displaced safely with life-saving aid. Much more aid supplies – including fuel – need to delivered across Gaza’s southern border with Egypt.
“The relentless bombing of residential areas and the devastating impact on hospitals, shelters and communications infrastructure is completely unacceptable. Islamic Relief condemns the killing of all civilians, whether in Israeli or Gaza.
“A humanitarian catastrophe is continuing to unfold, and we urge the international community and parties to the conflict to respect and implement the resolution passed by the UN General Assembly last night, which called for a sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities. Only with a ceasefire and a restoration of communications links can aid organisations hope to respond adequately to what the UN has described as ‘immense’ humanitarian needs.”
In addition to the UN resolution, nine Arab nations – Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – have made a joint statement against the targeting of civilians in the conflict. Three weeks of bombardment have had a devastating impact on civilians in Gaza, wiping out whole neighbourhoods and entire families. Survivors scour the rubble for signs of life, with some left collecting the scattered remains of their loved ones in plastic bags.
The communications blackout has made it more difficult for emergency teams to locate people trapped under rubble and get them the medical help they desperately need. It is also hampering the operations of aid agencies across the Gaza strip.
Up to the blackout, Islamic Relief’s staff in Gaza had not been harmed, but now communications links have been lost. One of them recently told us – simply, chillingly, and not long before communications links were severed – “Everyone is terrified.”
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.