Geneva, 7 November - In an alarming and unprecedented turn of events, the Gaza Strip is witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe, with a staggering death toll of 10,000 lives lost in just one month. The dire situation not only threatens the lives of Palestinian families but also carries the potential to engulf the West Bank and inflame the entire region.
Amid this escalating crisis, the people of Gaza are grappling with hunger, thirst, and a collapsing healthcare system. Simultaneously, the families of 240 Israeli and foreign hostages anxiously await news of their loved ones' well-being.
CARE International is now urgently calling for the immediate release of hostages, a ceasefire involving all parties, unhindered humanitarian aid flow into Gaza, and the swift evacuation of the sick and wounded. The unrelenting violence must come to a halt. All parties involved, including Israel, must adhere to their solemn responsibility of protecting innocent civilian lives.
Tibi, a representative of CARE International, emphasizes the gravity of the situation, stating, "Like the 2.3 million Gazans around them, they don’t know if they will still be alive the next morning, or even the next hour. This conflict is killing children and robbing millions of their dignity. The time to protect our common humanity is now. We need an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of safe, unimpeded, and sustained humanitarian aid into Gaza."
The human toll is starkly evident on both sides of the conflict. In Israel, more than 1,400 Israelis have lost their lives, with the majority of casualties occurring on October 7th. On the other side, the Gaza Ministry of Health reports a staggering death toll surpassing 10,000, including over 4,000 children and 2,550 women. Shockingly, humanitarian and health workers have suffered a devastatingly high number of casualties over the past month.
The people of Gaza, already grappling with a 16-year-long blockade, are now enduring 30 days of near-total siege. This siege has left them with severely limited access to clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and essential medical supplies. Six in 10 people are displaced, residing in overcrowded shelters where the risk of disease is soaring. Hospitals are overwhelmed, with doctors and nurses struggling to cope. Surgical procedures are performed with inadequate supplies and even a lack of proper anesthetics.
Moreover, the crumbling healthcare system and dire living conditions have significantly increased the risk of maternal and newborn mortality, which was already disproportionately high in Gaza.
Crucially, there is no escape for civilians, including children, the wounded, the disabled, the elderly, cancer patients, and those suffering from chronic illnesses. Tens of thousands are caught in the crossfire, and there is no safe haven in Gaza.
CARE continues to implore all parties involved to honor their commitments under international humanitarian law. This includes condemning the illegal taking of hostages, a reprehensible act that followed the attacks in Israel a month ago, constituting a blatant violation of international law. All hostages must be released immediately and unharmed.
The pressing demands are for the immediate reinstatement of water and electricity, the evacuation of critically ill and injured individuals, and the unimpeded delivery of safe and sustainable humanitarian aid on a substantial scale. An immediate ceasefire is the urgent need of the hour, a measure that could prevent countless more lives from being lost.