Caritas Australia partners deliver medical aid to Gaza

The aftermath of shelling near a Church in Gaza. Photo credit, Caritas Jerusalem

During the seven-day pause in hostilities from November 24th to December 1st, Caritas Australia partner agencies delivered primary health care to communities in southern Gaza.  

Three medical teams were mobilised to work in Khan Younis, Deir Al Balah and Rafah, with teams working rapidly to clear the debris from destruction and assemble ad-hoc primary clinics to start receiving patients. They successfully provided the public with basic medical services such as screening, blood tests, and other medical assistance as needed. 

Across the Gaza Strip, bombing has destroyed more than 46,000 homes and damaged over 234,000 housing units. This constitutes over 60 percent of the housing stock, as reported by the Shelter Cluster. A Caritas partner agency health center in Gaza City has been exposed to partial destruction due to the shelling that took place in the surrounding area. The extent of the damage is currently under assessment. 

Caritas Internationalis expressed its “heartfelt admiration and gratitude to its team,” stating that all are “deeply saddened by the end of the truce and joining our partners in hopes and prayers for a complete and immediate ceasefire.” 

Caritas Australia continues to advocate for a lasting ceasefire that enables a full humanitarian response. On Wednesday 13th the agency welcomed the Australian government calling for a ceasefire.  

Upon this announcement Humanitarian Emergencies Lead Sally Thomas said, “the departure from human dignity and human rights in Gaza has now escalated to such a degree that a lasting ceasefire is the only way to stem the tide of suffering. 

“The reality is, very few of the life-threatening issues people face in the region can be addressed in a few hours or days. Re-establishing proper healthcare to support a population as injured and sick as those in Gaza is a gargantuan task, as is addressing the catastrophe of trauma in the region. In times of conflict there are usually some escape routes, however undesirable those options might be, but over the past two months civilians have been trapped and forced to bear witness to the suffering of innocent people.  

“The population is now in dire need of an unconditional end to the violence so they can receive the full breadth of humanitarian support. We are pleased to see the Australian government joining with New Zealand and Canada to push for political actions that will enable this humanitarian response” Sally Thomas concluded.