Period covered by this update: 10 January – 20 January 2009.
Summary: a total of CHF 446,524 has been allocated from the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). The first allocation of CHF 346,524 was made on 10 January 2009, with a second allocation of CHF 100,000 on 20 January 2009 to provide additional support to the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) for the deployment of staff for contingency planning and training, as well as supplementary warehousing capacity. Following the cease fire, it is expected that relief assistance will continue through Egypt at an increased pace in the coming weeks, which further justifies an increased logistics support to the Red Crescent.
Implementation of this DREF operation is proceeding as planned with the procurement of equipment and relief supplies, and with the set up of the three operational rooms in El Arish, Rafah and Ouja cross border points. In addition, the ERCS has been supported by the Ministry of Communication to set up satellite lines for the operational rooms in Rafah and Al Arish. The ERCS is currently fully mobilized at both its headquarters and branch levels in El Arish to ensure efficient transport of emergency assistance in the form of food, relief, medical supplies and equipment through the Rafah and Ouja/KeremShalom crossing points. With the Federation’s support, the ERCS has been upgrading its office and facilities in El Arish and Rafah. It also continues to facilitate the transport of seriously wounded people and their accompanying relatives from Gaza into Egypt through the Rafah Crossing Point to be treated at medical facilities in Egypt. ERCS volunteers are operating in three groups: a team loading and unloading at the border; another team visiting the wounded in hospitals; and the third team providing psychosocial support for relatives.
The Federation team is composed of the Head of the Regional Office, an emergency coordinator, delegated by the Norwegian Red Cross, and recently reinforced by the arrival of two logisticians. The Algerian Red Crescent DM coordinator is currently joining and supporting the team, following a short mission in Gaza (Shifa Hospital). The regional psycho social support coordinator is expected soon to support the ERCS. Additional support is provided through the Federation’s Zone Office (head of zone, DM coordinator, health and care coordinator). The ERCS and Federation are working closely and communicating often with the ICRC Cairo Delegation and concerned National Societies operating in Egypt (Qatari, Saudi, Emirati, Turkish, Malaysian, Kuwaiti Red Crescent. Contributions to fully or partially reimburse the Federation’s DREF are strongly encouraged.
This operation is expected to be implemented over 3 months (although the situation remains volatile at time of writing), and will therefore be completed by April 2009; a Final Report will be made available by 31 July 2009 (three months after the end of the operation).
Twenty two days of hostilities in Gaza have created a dire humanitarian situation. The UN reports(1) a death toll in Gaza of more than 1,300 with over 5,000 injured. On 17 January 2009 a unilateral cease fire was announced by Israel, followed shortly after by Hamas. The situation is fluid and volatile, and the truce remains fragile. Preparedness efforts will continue as planned, reinforcing ERCS readiness to intervene or respond in case of potential large population movements to Egypt.
Following the ceasefire, it is expected that the cross border points of Rafah, Ouja and Kerem Shalom will be fully operational and allow safe transport of relief assistance into Gaza. The volume of relief items transiting through Egypt is increasing each day. The ERCS is the lead agency for the facilitation and transport of assistance to Gaza. During the reporting period, and with the support of the Federation’s emergency coordinator, the ERCS resources and capacities in the El Arish and Rafah branches were upgraded to allow a scale-up of assistance activities. The El Arish branch has been providing office and meeting space to PNS present in El Arish as well as OCHA, WFP and WHO agencies.Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)