More than two weeks into the Gaza conflict, the humanitarian crisis is deepening hour by hour. Mary Lucas, our Country Representative for the Middle East, said:
“People in Gaza are exhausted and traumatised. The international community must act to stop the escalating violence – the bombing must stop on both sides.”
We have received reports from our partner Islamic Relief that describe the deteriorating situation:
“Shelling has devastated water and sanitation systems, leaving an estimated 90 per cent of water unfit for drinking or cooking, because most of Gaza’s sewage plants have been hit and are no longer functioning. There is a serious risk of disease spreading very quickly. Churches, schools and private buildings are full of displaced people, who have nowhere else to go.”
There is now a pressing need for humanitarian access, as nearly one million people are without clean water and have very limited access to electricity. Our partners’ humanitarian aid workers need to reach the most vulnerable communities and families with life-saving aid, such as medicine, clean water and food.
Since the beginning of the hostilities, more than 600 people have been killed, and over 4,000 injured, among them many children and women. More than 120,000 people are now displaced.
We support the recent statement by Bishop Declan Lang, who condemned the violence on both sides:
“It is with a sense of deep sorrow that I find myself condemning yet again in the strongest possible terms the spiralling violence that has gripped both Israel and Palestine. Indeed, my mounting concern witnesses the indiscriminate and relentless attacks by the Israeli military machine on the civilian population of Gaza. I condemn in equal measure the firing of rockets by militants from Gaza into populated civilian areas across Israel. Those increasing levels of violence have reached unsettling proportions.”
CAFOD’s Mary Lucas said: “The loss of every human being in this terrible conflict is tragic. We call on the UK government and the international community to push hard for an immediate ceasefire.
“It is clear that the status quo is no longer sustainable. The only way out of the cycle of violence is to address the root causes of the conflict: there needs to be an end to the occupation of Palestinian territory, to the building of settlements and to the closure of Gaza.”
We ask that you continue to pray for a peaceful solution to this conflict, and to keep the people affected by this crisis in your thoughts and prayers.