The international community must demand a ceasefire and that Kerem Shalom crossing is reopened for aid and commercial supplies
ALEXANDRIA, Va – Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) has released the following statement:
World leaders must stop the massacre of civilians in Gaza, Islamic Relief says, as Israel further intensifies its relentless and indiscriminate attack and restricts aid from coming in.
Islamic Relief teams in Gaza have described scenes of hell on earth for civilians, as the international community looks on. Desperate families are running out of food and hospitals are filled with the screams of wounded children. Civilians have nowhere safe to go as they are ordered to leave one area only to be bombed as they flee or seek shelter elsewhere. Hospitals and schools where people shelter are being attacked, and people in refugee camps are being bombed as they sleep. The reported death toll has now passed 16,000 people but is likely to be even higher as countless unidentified bodies lie under the rubble of bombed homes. People are trying to dig out survivors with their bare hands as emergency services have collapsed.
Almost two thirds of homes in Gaza are now damaged or destroyed and 80% of people are displaced. Islamic Relief staff are delivering aid to shelters that are so overcrowded that children sleep outside in the rain and hundreds of people share a single toilet, with diseases rapidly spreading. After ordering civilians to move to southern Gaza, Israel is now forcing them into an even smaller and more concentrated area that will magnify the humanitarian crisis even further.
Over the past two months Islamic Relief and local partners have distributed almost daily aid to thousands of people in southern and central Gaza, despite the extreme danger as Gaza has become the world’s deadliest place for humanitarian workers. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep delivering aid as supplies are running out, very little new is coming in, and there is bombing everywhere. Most people are not getting any meaningful aid and the humanitarian crisis is mounting by the day as people face starvation and disease.
Islamic Relief Worldwide’s CEO, Waseem Ahmad, says a ceasefire and more supplies are desperately needed:
“History will judge governments that allow this massacre to continue unabated. As a humanitarian organisation Islamic Relief responds to horrific wars and crises all over the world, but we have rarely if ever witnessed killing and destruction at this speed and scale. Civilians including thousands of children are being killed relentlessly. Once again, we appeal to the international community to demand a lasting ceasefire. This is more urgent than ever in order to save lives and ensure that aid can be delivered safely. Every single hour matters right now.
“International law is being trampled over in full view of the world. Civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools must be protected. If the international community allows hospitals in Gaza to be attacked with impunity like this, it risks undermining respect for international law all over the world – with deadly consequences for tens of millions of civilians.
“As the occupying power and a party to the conflict, Israel has an obligation under international law to allow more humanitarian aid and commercial supplies into Gaza. The Rafah crossing alone is nowhere near enough – the Kerem Shalom crossing has much greater capacity and must be reopened.”
Islamic Relief is calling for an immediate ceasefire and for world leaders to ensure that Israel allows food, fuel, medicine and other critical supplies into Gaza in the quantity required for a disaster of this magnitude. This means that other crossings must be reopened for both humanitarian aid and vital commercial supplies to restock markets that are almost entirely depleted.
At the moment aid is only able to enter through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, after it is screened and approved by Israel. But the Rafah crossing does not have anywhere near the capacity to handle the amount of aid needed. Until 7 October, the vast majority of aid and commercial supplies entering Gaza came through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which has far greater capacity and infrastructure, but has now been shut down by Israel for almost two months. It is vital that Kerem Shalom is reopened as well.
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.