(last updated January 5, 2008)
Read the BBC News diary of an Islamic Relief aid worker in Gaza.
On the morning of December 27, 2008, massive air raids were launched in the Gaza Strip that still continues to take place. This aerial assault was followed by the ground assault which started on January 3, 2009. To date, over 540 people are dead and over 2100 are injured.
"We are short of rooms and supplies, we are up to our necks," said a surgeon at Gaza's main Al-Shifa Hospital. Added the doctor, "The buildings are falling on the heads of the patients."
"The situation is absolutely disastrous." - United Nations official (CNN)
The death toll of the attacks has risen to 540, with over 2,100 injured.
These numbers are expected to rise with the continuation of the strike and the inability of the Gaza medical capacity to cope with the overload of causalities.
According to the BBC, this attack is considered to be the bloodiest in Gaza in over 40 years.
In addition to the urgent medical needs for the victims, the short supply of food is another worry for those trying to survive.
Islamic Relief's aid worker on the ground, Hatem Shurrab, who is writing about the situation for BBC News, has said, "I've met families who are resorting to boiling weeds that they've dug out from the ground in order to feed their families."
(Read the latest entries on the BBC News website of an Islamic Relief aid worker sharing first-hand accounts of the situation on the ground in Gaza and IR's relief efforts.)
"What makes the food situation even worse is that Gazans were already facing difficulties with food over the last year - now they are on the brink," said Shurrab.
International aid organizations have claimed the current humanitarian conditions in Gaza to be the worst in three decades (CNN).
50% of the hospitals’ ambulances are depreciated due to lack of spare parts and the amount of fuel available.
All services have been affected and one and a quarter million people receive piped drinking water less than once a day as a consequence.
The humanitarian situation is deteriorating by the day. There is a severe shortage of cooking gas. Families are relying on gasoline burners or small generators, the prices of which have increased six-folds in the market.
The majority of families rely on candles for lighting due to power blackouts. For the fifth consecutive week, there is no fuel for standby generators or transportation.
Water and sewage services continue to be severely constrained by shortages of fuel, chemicals for sterilization and spare parts.
"The children are terrified. Adults are unable to provide them with security or warmth. Hospitals are stretched out of the limits. We need blood and medicine and surgical equipment." -Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, Head of Gaza's Mental Health Program
Your support has helped save lives. The people of Gaza are still in desperate need, please continue your help.
Islamic Relief's Response:
- $126,000 worth of medical supplies provided to hospitals in Gaza within 48 hours of the crisis
- Another $250,000 worth of aid to be provided in the following few days
- A multi-million dollar emergency appeal has been launched
- Already established office and staff in Gaza able to respond quickly
- Islamic Relief is arranging for a coordination meeting with the United Nations' World Health organization (WHO) and all other NGOs operating in Gaza.
Click here to donate now.
2008 Relief Efforts in Gaza
In January of 2008, Islamic Relief launched a close to $10 million emergency appeal to help provide food, healthcare, and shelter in the worst effected areas. Vital aid has been provided to relieve the immediate suffering of more than 500,000 people in Palestine including children, hospital patients, farmers, needy families and those affected by conflict.
Some examples of Islamic Relief's assistance in the Gaza Strip include the following:
During 2008, Islamic Relief provided more than 60,000 food parcels for affected and poor families in Gaza. Powder milk was also provided for children suffering from malnutrition
About 300 urgent medical drugs (cancer, maternity, ophthalmic, general) and disposable items were provided for hospitals and clinics in the Gaza Strip in 2008
Rehabilitation of many emergency departments in hospitals was finalized, such as: the emergency department at Al Najjar hospital and the Intensive Coronary Care Unit (ICCU) at Al Shifa hospital.
Please donate generously.
Islamic Relief in Palestine
Islamic Relief has worked in Palestine since 1994, and opened its Gaza City office in 1998. Since then, Islamic Relief has been working to help the Palestinians with food aid, medical relief, small business loans, and orphan sponsorships.
Islamic Relief has established offices and staff in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Islamic Relief has also established educational enhancement centers, care programs for psychologically traumatized children and a school for the deaf.