Latest update on Gaza hostilities
On the latest hostilities in Gaza, Islamic Relief Gaza Country Director, Muneeb Abu-Ghazaleh, said: “Islamic Relief is extremely concerned about the recent escalation in violence in the Gaza strip and the ensuing civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.
“While we welcome the ceasefire that came into force this morning, it is imperative that the peace holds and that civilians are not only protected but supported to ensure that they can live in peace and dignity.
“Living conditions in Gaza have been deteriorating for years due to the never-ending cycles of violence – of which the recent attacks are only the latest round.
“Every time this happens, life is interrupted all over again – children are stopped from going to school and the psychological scars of previous conflicts are brought to the surface. Children we work with are mentally and physically exhausted and have no means of escape.
“In recent days schools have had to close and hospitals have found themselves under even greater strain. Those with disabilities are also being the hardest hit.
“There are not enough medical supplies or doctors to deal with the need and more than 40 per cent of essentials drugs and medication are now entirely out of stock. Every day it also feels like it is getting harder for people to get the necessary permissions to leave and access medical care elsewhere.
“To make matters worse, unemployment is skyrocketing and living standards are collapsing. Food insecurity never used to be an issue in Gaza and now two-thirds of the households in the city say they are not sure if they can put food on the table.
“Even as needs go up, international donor support is not keeping pace. We urgently need to step up our support for the people of Gaza and do what we can to help children go to school, get urgent medical supplies to hospitals so that they can treat the sick and wounded and ensure that people can earn a decent living so they can make sure their families are not going to bed hungry.”