Ramallah/Beirut/Geneva, 24 May 2018 The President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has met some of the volunteers injured while responding to recent violence in Gaza.

Speaking at the end of his two-day visit to Gaza, President Francesco Rocca, praised the courage and commitment of Red Crescent personnel who assisted more than 6,000 people injured during the violence. Six volunteers were wounded in the line of duty.

Mr Rocca said: “I came here to convey our admiration and solidarity to our colleagues from the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Their dedication and bravery is inspiring. I was especially moved to meet some of the young volunteers now recovering from injuries they sustained during their efforts. I once again call on all parties to respect and protect volunteers and other humanitarian workers.

“I also came here to better understand the difficulties faced by those living in Gaza. The humanitarian needs in Gaza are enormous. The health system is near collapse – any health system would struggle under the massive number of wounded.

“But when we talk about humanitarian needs in Gaza, we are not just talking about the recent violence. I saw a great need for long-term treatment and rehabilitation. Emergency care is critical, but so is longer-term support. Right now, this is not readily available in Gaza,” said Mr Rocca.

President Rocca visited several of the emergency medical stations that were established by Palestine Red Crescent Society during the violence, as well as a Red Crescent hospital and psychosocial centre in Khan Yunis.

President Rocca was joined throughout his visit by Dr Younis Al Khatib, the President of the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Dr Younis said:

We appreciate the support of IFRC and our partners across the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. We appreciate this support, but we desperately need more. We have launched an international appeal for Gaza and the West Bank. Our message is simple: people here need help. Every day our emergency medical teams, volunteers, and psycho social support staff are doing all they can to help meet these needs. But we cannot do it alone.

I also repeat our call for our medical missions, volunteers and staff to be respected and protected. We are humanitarians. We wear the protective emblem of the red crescent. We are not a target,” Dr Younis said.

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Media contacts

In Ramallah Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 4367, tommaso.dellalonga@ifrc.org

In Beirut: Rana Cassou, +961 71 80 2779, rana.cassou@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Matthew Cochrane, +41 79 251 80 39, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org