Thursday, January 15, 2009

'Gaza is on fire, everything is under attack'

Red Cross says Gaza humanitarian situation 'shocking'
AFP: 'I saw this dramatic humanitarian situation. There's an increasing number of women and children being wounded and going to hospitals.' Jakob Kellenberger told reporters in Jerusalem. 'It is shocking. It hurts when you see these wounded people and the types of wounds they have. And I think that in addition the number of people coming to these hospitals is increasing.' The Red Cross president called for improved access for ambulances inside Gaza seeking to recover the wounded and to rescue civilians sheltering from the fighting... 'Civilians who are being wounded, who are being trapped with problems of hunger, without water, you must be able to say that you can reach them.'

Gideon Levy, Haaretz: The fighting in Gaza is 'war deluxe.' Compared with previous wars, it is child's play -- pilots bombing unimpeded as if on practice runs, tank and artillery soldiers shelling houses and civilians from their armored vehicles, combat engineering troops destroying entire streets in their ominous protected vehicles without facing serious opposition. A large, broad army is fighting against a helpless population and a weak, ragged organization that has fled the conflict zones and is barely putting up a fight... This war is also child's play because of its victims.

National Post: CARE had been planning to distribute emergency medical supplies to hospitals and clinics today, as well as baby food and blankets for newborns in shelters...  'This is the first day CARE has been forced to totally suspend activities in Gaza,' said Martha Myers, CARE International's Country Director for West Bank and Gaza. 'Desperately needed supplies are ready to be distributed today, but we cannot reach the people in need because of the bombing. Last week, our staff had to flee a food distribution because of the bombing. Yesterday, while our workers were packing the medical supplies for today's distributions, bombs fell near the warehouse and our staff had to drop and run. This is not humanitarian access.'

The Times [UK]: Chris Gunness, a UNRWA spokesman, said that the building had been used to shelter hundreds of people... He said that pallets with supplies desperately needed by Palestinians in Gaza were on fire. 'What more stark symbolism do you need? You can't put out white phosphorus with traditional methods.'... 'I am telling you that Gaza is on fire, everything is under attack. We cannot begin to answer all the calls for help, it is desperate. We cannot reach the people, everyone is trapped and we do not know how to help them,' said Doctor Moussa El Haddad at Shifa Hospital.

The Toronto Star: Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees. Israeli officials say their forces were fired on from the compound by Hamas guerillas. UN officials at the scene dismissed the Israeli claim as 'nonsense.' ... Ground forces thrust deep into a crowded neighbourhood, sending terrified residents fleeing for cover. Shells also struck a hospital, five  high-rise apartment buildings and a building housing media outlets in Gaza City, injuring several journalists. Bullets also entered another building housing The Associated Press offices... The Foreign Press Association demanded a halt to attacks on buildings housing journalists. The Israeli army had collected the locations of media organizations at the outset of fighting.
Graph source here. Photo source here.