Monday, January 05, 2009

A roundup of Gaza Items

We came across a couple of items on the Gaza strip this morning and decided to put them all together into one post.

First, World Vision New Zealand is seeking donations to those who are hardest hit by the Israeli bombing. The Stuff website from New Zealand explains that this is part of a international effort.

World Vision internationally is aiming to raise $1.72 million to provide food parcels, blankets and other basic supplies to vulnerable families as soon as the situation in Gaza permits.

"Our priority now is to assist those who are living in intolerable conditions with limited access to food, water or medical facilities," World Vision's national director for Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, Charles Clayton said.

"Eighty percent of the people in Gaza are already dependent on food aid, and even those who had relied on a meagre daily income now find that it is no longer available."

Israel unleashed a massive bombardment following the end of a six-month ceasefire on December 19, aimed at weakening Hamas and in response to persistent rocket fire from the enclave.

Israeli rockets have targeted government buildings, mosques, universities, police stations and other civilian buildings in the deadliest conflict in Gaza in four decades.

Israel has said militants were using some holy sites to hoard weapons and as command centres, and that other buildings were linked to Hamas military operations.

Second, Medecins Sans Frontieres is asking for help to aid the people in Gaza. The medical aid organization is seeking more doctors to volunteer their time.

More than a week after air strikes on Gaza Strip began and following the first land incursion of Israeli forces, surgical services in the area are overwhelmed and surgeons specialised in vascular surgery are desperately needed in order to deal with the number of wounded. In Gaza City, the intensive care unit of Shifa referral hospital has reached the limits of its capacity. The conflict is preventing patients needing post operative medical care and health personnel from reaching clinics and hospitals.

Three international MSF volunteers (a field coordinator, a doctor and a nurse) arrived in Gaza Strip on Wednesday the 31st of December, to reinforce the 35 local staff members.

MSF is adapting its activities to reach people in need of medical help who are unable to leave their homes. Local MSF doctors, nurses and physiotherapists have taken medical supplies to their own neighbourhoods and are providing care and distributing medical material to meet the immediate needs of patients living in their vicinity. In response to a request from Shifa referral hospital, MSF is attempting to send a surgical team into Gaza Strip. MSF is also trying to send a mobile hospital unit with an operating theatre and an intensive care unit, and medical material for treating the wounded and supplying hospitals, in order to help them deal with the numerous emergencies they are facing.

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