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Israel-Hamas war

Israeli Ground Invasion Puts Thousands at Risk in Overcrowded Rafah: Red Crescent

© AP Photo / Hatem AliPalestinians walk by a residential building destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024
Palestinians walk by a residential building destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.02.2024
Over 90 people lost their lives due to "intense shelling" in Rafah, as Israeli airstrikes and shelling targeted various areas overnight on Monday, according to Palestine Red Crescent.
The recent Israeli airstrike in Rafah has led to a tragic death toll of 94, prompting the ongoing efforts by rescue teams to evacuate individuals trapped beneath the rubble, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society spokesperson Nebal Farsakh.
She emphasizes the absence of a secure location for the Gazans, stating, "there is no safe place to go."

"We heard from one of our colleagues who said, 'living in a tent in such situations is very terrifying. You feel like every bullet is directed to your body.' And that's exactly how he felt," she shared.

Farsakh underscored the critical conditions in Rafah and urged an immediate international intervention to protect the well-being of both civilians and healthcare workers.

“The Israeli intense shelling on Rafah induced fear and confusion among the population, rendering them unable to discern the unfolding events or determine a course of action. The overcrowded nature of Rafah, with almost half of the population present, leaves little room for escape, making any subsequent airstrike or bombardment likely to result in a devastating toll of lives and injuries," Farsakh noted.

Dire Conditions in Rafah as Over a Million Seek Refuge

The healthcare system in South Gaza, according to Farsakh, “is on the verge of collapse due to a critical shortage of essential medical supplies.
Hospitals in Gaza City and the north have already ceased operations, with medical facilities sustaining damage. The dire situation extends to the south, where the healthcare system struggles to handle the massive influx of injured individuals.

“Additionally, approximately 700,000 people in Gaza are now grappling with communicable diseases, including cancer, respiratory infections, and diarrhea. This health crisis is a consequence of overcrowded conditions, insufficient access to food and clean water, and a lack of medical care”, said Farsakh.

Since the start of the Israeli war in Gaza, Farsakh mentioned that “people had sought refuge in Rafah as per evacuation directives from the Israeli government. However, with more than 50% of residents moved in Rafah—totalling over a million people—conditions have become dire”.

“If the ground invasion prevails, it inevitably implies that thousands of individuals will face the risk of being killed or injured. This dire prediction is grounded in the current state of overcrowding in Rafah,” she said.

Relentless Airstrikes Impede Emergency Response

Farsakh pointed out that “airstrikes were so relentless that our teams, and even the ambulances, were hindered from reaching and transporting the injured due to the overwhelming challenges. Creating a humanitarian corridor for UN agencies or our response teams to access and attend to injuries has been an unmet need. Our work unfolds in perilous conditions, with the lives of our paramedics constantly at risk. Tragically, we've lost 14 Palestine Red Crescent members during humanitarian missions aimed at saving lives."

“All 700,000 individuals affected are currently cramped in shelters, further compounded by poor hygiene conditions and limited access to water. The daunting task of recognizing, reporting, and recording these alarming numbers adds to the challenge, leaving the affected population uncertain about what steps to take, as there is no secure place for them to seek refuge," she said.

Faraskh highlighted that “90% of Gaza's residents were displaced due to ongoing bombardment. Since the commencement of the conflict, civilians have borne the brunt of this ongoing war, paying a steep price as evidenced by the staggering figures. Nearly 70% of the victims are children and women”.

Southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip, after Israeli airstrikes - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.12.2023
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