Iran’s Red Crescent Society Announces Readiness to Send Humanitarian Aid to Gaza
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) voiced readiness to work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to dispatch essential medical and humanitarian aid, including medicine and food, to the Gaza Strip which is under full siege laid by Israel.
IRCS President Pirhossein Koulivand sent a message to ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger on Tuesday, and said the IRCS is ready to work with ICRC and its agencies in the region to deliver humanitarian aid to the affected Palestinian people.
A humanitarian crisis is swiftly unfolding in the Gaza Strip, as trapped residents, many cut off from food and electricity, face a fifth day of Israeli air raids.
Koulivand called for strengthening cooperation between the two organizations to save the lives of many civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Like the ICRC, the Iranian Red Crescent Society is worried about the escalation of warning signs about the armed conflict in Gaza, he added.
Asking the ICRC to take all necessary measures to stop attacks against civilians in occupied territories, Koulivand stated that humanitarian diplomacy can mitigate the negative consequences of current humanitarian crises and such long-term armed conflicts.
Earlier, Spoljaric had urged “the parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and take every possible step to protect civilians”.
“Without immediate restraint I fear we are heading for a humanitarian disaster,” she wrote on X.
Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, where some 2 million people live in an area of 140 square miles. It has been almost completely cut off from the rest of the world for nearly 17 years. More than half of its population lives in poverty and is food insecure, with nearly 80% of its population relying on humanitarian assistance.
Israel has in recent days carried out heavy bombardment across the besieged enclave, killing more than 950 Palestinians, including over 260 children, and wounding at least 5,000 others. Tel Aviv has also announced a total blockade of the already besieged Gaza Strip, including a ban on food and water after Hamas carried out the biggest attack on Israel in decades.
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), has stated that the imposition of sieges that endanger civilians by depriving them of essential goods “is prohibited under international humanitarian law”.
“These risks (are) seriously compounding the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the capacity of medical facilities to operate, especially in light of the increasing number of injured people,” Shamdasani stated Tuesday, speaking at a news conference in Geneva with UN humanitarian office representative Jens Laerke.
Laerke added the decision to cut off the water supply to Gaza affects more than 610,000 people and “will result in severe shortage of drinking water.”
“We remain extremely alarmed by these rapidly escalating events,” stated Laerke.
“Since Saturday, four schools and eight health care facilities in Gaza have sustained damage. Destruction of infrastructure and streets has hindered the movement of civil defense and medical teams trying to reach victims,” he said, adding that health care, water and sanitation facilities have also sustained damage.
The United Nations human rights chief has also warned that Israel’s imposition of a total blockade on the Gaza Strip amounts to a war crime and violates international law.
Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement on Tuesday that the blockade “seriously” risks the already dire humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave.
Turk stressed the limited capacity of medical facilities to operate, especially in light of the growing number of injured. He said Israel’s “imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law.”
“This risks seriously compounding the already dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Gaza, including the capacity of medical facilities to operate, especially in light of increasing numbers of injured,” Turk continued, adding that a siege may amount to “collective punishment.”
Israel has in recent hours ramped up its aerial offensive in Gaza, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced, many cut off from food and electricity.
On Wednesday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed and experiencing shortages of drugs, medical supplies and electricity, as a humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolds in the Palestinian enclave under Israeli bombardment.
The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has also said early Wednesday that more than 263,000 people have been displaced in Gaza during ongoing Israeli airstrikes, with the number “expected to rise further”.
The figure represents more than one in 10 of the population in the densely populated enclave.
Among those displaced, at least 175,486 people are seeking shelter in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools, while about 3,000 people remain displaced due to previous escalations, OCHA announced in its update.
It marks the highest number of internally displaced Palestinians since the 50-day escalation of hostilities in 2014, OCHA added.