Wednesday, January 7, 2009

IFRC Voices Extreme Concern for Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza

Kuwait News Agency, January 7, 2009 - The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Wednesday expressed extreme concern over the severely hampered humanitarian work of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

"The PRCS is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and spearheads the dangerous but critical life-saving work of emergency medical evacuations on the ground. Its ability to work safely is being severely undermined due to the growing number of violent incidents that its staff and volunteers are facing," said the IFRC.

The IFRC added that most recently, three PRCS medical teams and at least four ambulances have been caught in the crossfire.

In one typical incident on the evening of the 05 Jan, a PRCS ambulance which had been requested by the Israeli military to remove injured people from a location inside Gaza, was stopped, the ambulance was fired up and the medical team was forced to return to base without completing its humanitarian mission.

Furthermore, said the IFRC, on 4 January, a PRCS volunteer, Arafa Abdul Dayem, was killed while on duty, after an air strike hit a location in Jabaliya. Two other medical personnel were badly injured in this incident.

Because of such incidents, said the IFRC, the PRCS has been forced to evacuate several of its premises in areas where humanitarian needs are often greatest.

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