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Aid agencies warn of humanitarian disaster in Gaza if conflict continues

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Thirty-eight aid agencies warned of humanitarian disaster in Gaza if Israeli-Palestinian military confrontation didn’t come to a stop, a news website reported Monday.

A group of 38 aid and development agencies urged world leaders to take swift action to enforce ceasefire to protect civilian lives and stave off a humanitarian disaster in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the charitable arm of Reuters, Turst.org, reported.

“World leaders cannot sit by while civilian casualties in Gaza and Israel continue to mount,” said Nishant Pandey, director of the international relief organization, Oxfam Country.

“We urgently need to enforce a cease fire. The present conflict threatens to perpetuate and worsen the humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians in Gaza of over five years of Israeli blockade and the 2008-2009 Israeli military operation ‘Cast Lead’.”

Medics in Gaza already announced that they were running out of medical supplies. Intensifying violence is also hindering aid organizations to offer their help to people.

“Thousands of innocent people, including women and children, are in danger of being caught in the crossfire in the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas. We are urgently appealing to all sides, as well as to world leaders, to seek a political resolution and avoid the loss of any more human lives,” said Aleksandar Milutinovic, Mercy Corps Country Director, West Bank/Gaza.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday urged the international community to raise $10 million in a bid to provide medical supplies to Gaza, where many stocks have been used up, AFP reported.

“Many of the drugs at zero stock are lifesaving,” WHO said in a statement. “Gaza hospitals are now having to deal with the growing number of casualties with severely depleted medical supplies.”

WHO said it requires $10 million “to cover all medicines and medical supplies for three months.”

Among the wounds Gaza medical workers are trying to treat are serious burns, injuries from falling buildings and head injuries.

Qatari aid

Qatar on Saturday already pledged to give $10 million to Egypt to aid Palestinians wounded in Israeli air strikes on the neighboring Gaza, state news agency QNA reported.

Qatar, which vowed to invest $400 million in rebuilding Gaza in October, will also send emergency aid including medical equipment and medicines to Gaza, QNA said.

Egypt was the first country to denounce Israeli “aggression” and made headlines when it sent Prime Minister Hisham Qandil to Gaza on Friday to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The deficit-hit Egypt, however, didn’t pledge any financial aid to Gaza but Jordan and Morocco did.

Jordanian King Abdullah ordered Chairman of the Joint chiefs-of-Staff General Mashal al-Zaben to take immediate measures to enhance the capabilities of Jordan’s military field hospital in Gaza, “Gaza 21,” The Jordan Times quoted a Royal Court statement saying on Saturday.

Abdullah instructed the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO) to dispatch immediate humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

On Friday, King Abdullah also discussed the latest developments in Gaza with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a telephone call, the statement said.

While the king expressed his deep concerns over the serious repercussions of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, Clinton said the U.S. appreciated his continuous efforts to support peace and achieve stability in the region.

Meanwhile, Morocco’s King Mohammed ordered for the immediate set up of a Moroccan field hospital in Gaza, spokesperson of the palace Abdelhak Lamrini said on Sunday.

The multidisciplinary medical-surgical hospital will be composed of specialized medical units of the Royal Armed Forces as well as Moroccan civilian physicians and paramedics, he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will travel to Gaza on Tuesday with a group of foreign ministers from the Arab League in solidarity with the Palestinian people, Reuters reported.