War surgery team, medical supplies arrive in Gaza amid humanitarian crisis: ICRC

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Six International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) trucks carrying vital medical material and water purification supplies arrived in Gaza on Friday, alongside ten ICRC experts - including a war surgery team and a weapons contamination specialist - amidst the deepening humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave.

The arrival of new humanitarian personnel will increase the ICRC’s capacity to continue supporting hospitals and deliver life-saving trauma surgery, assist people desperate for clean drinking water, and to contribute to any future family reunification of released hostages, the humanitarian organization said in a statement on Friday.

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“This crucial humanitarian assistance is a small dose of relief, but it´s not enough. Our surgical team and medical supplies will help relieve the extreme pressure on Gaza’s doctors and nurses. But safe, sustained humanitarian access is urgently needed. This humanitarian catastrophe is deepening by the hour,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC’s regional director for the Near and Middle East.

The new medical material – for both north and south Gaza – includes war surgery kits, large packages of supplies used to treat people with wounds suffered in conflict.

The kits can be used to treat between 1,000 and 5,000 people, depending on the severity of their injuries.

The water purification supplies contain chlorine tablets that can treat 50,000 liters of drinking water to help alleviate problems Gazans now face in finding safe, clean water.

The ICRC has urged all parties to the conflict and states with influence to enable rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access in line with international humanitarian law.

Sustained humanitarian access, and a sustained supply of humanitarian assistance, is desperately needed across Gaza.

Earlier this week, Jessica Moussan, Media Advisor in the Middle East at the ICRC, told Al Arabiya English, that the recent aid received in Gaza, while welcome, “is critically insufficient.”

“Prior to the escalation, Gaza required 600 trucks of provisions to barely meet needs; presently, only a handful make it through,” she said. “This minimal assistance is dwarfed by the enormity of the situation, particularly with health facilities in dire conditions.”

The UN World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director Cindy McCain also told Reuters on Thursday that overly stringent checks on trucks at the Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza were slowing the flow of humanitarian aid to a “dribble” as hunger grows among Palestinians there.

The Rafah crossing, which is controlled by Egypt and does not border Israel, has become the main point of aid delivery since Israel imposed a “total siege” of Gaza in retaliation for an attack by Hamas militants from the coastal strip on Oct. 7.

The United States is leading negotiations with Israel, Egypt and the UN to try to create a sustained delivery mechanism for aid to Gaza. They are wrangling over procedures for inspecting aid and bombardments on the Gaza side of the border.

While there have been some limited deliveries of food, water and medicine since Saturday, no fuel has been allowed in. Israel is concerned about the possible diversion of fuel deliveries by Hamas.

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