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MENAFN - Arab News - 26/07/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) NEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) called on Friday for a humanitarian corridor to be set up in Gaza to allow aid workers to evacuate the wounded and bring in life-saving medicines.Even during wartime belligerents are obligated under international humanitarian law to ensure that people are able to reach medical care in safety the WHO and Red Cross said.Yet some sick and injured in Gaza are dying because of a lack of access to ambulances or health facilities or the inability to leave the enclave for specialized treatment the agencies said.As casualties mount daily WHO officials have discussed the humanitarian corridor proposal with both Israeli and Egyptian officials but there has been no response yet WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said. 'It's needed as an urgency" Garwood told a news briefing.In a statement the UN health agency said that it was difficult for the sick and wounded in Gaza to get access to health care and that some needed to leave the coastal strip for treatment.The humanitarian corridor should protect their safe passage the WHO said and the transport of essential aid should be facilitated at crossing points between the Gaza Strip and Israel and neighboring countries.Four hospitals have been damaged since July 8 when Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza many ambulances have come under fire and medical supplies are running low the WHO said.A shipment of WHO medical supplies enough to treat some 400-500 people was expected to arrive from Amman Garwood said noting that nearly 600 people were injured on Thursday alone.'People are dying at an alarming rate being injured at a very alarming rate" Jens Laerke of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told reporters.'We are calling for these localized cease-fires whereby the wounded can be evacuated and we can access people with both health care and other kinds of relief" he said.Jacques de Maio the head of the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Israel and the occupied territories said that it could not cope with the many pleas from families when Israel's ground offensive began last week.'In the dark violent hours of the night we could not send ambulances or restore the water supply or treat the injured dying of their wounds. Isolated and terrified with nowhere to flee and no help in sight the anger of Palestinian families grew" he wrote in an op-ed published in the Guardian.The ICRC an independent agency condemned the 'direct shelling of al Aqsa hospital" without explicitly blaming Israel and the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants on Israel both 'clear breaches of international law."'Even in the midst of warfare people must be able to receive medical care in safety" de Maio said.Meanwhile relations between Turkey and Israel have hit their 'lowest level" amid the Jewish state's assault on the Gaza Strip and may not be able to improve for some time Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said.Arinc one of the founding members of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party said Turkey had always calibrated its relations with Israel according to Israel's behavior toward the Palestinians. 'Our relations have always been reduced to a minimum whenever Israel continued occupation dropped bombs in Palestine and carried out massacres" he said.'The lowest level (in relations) right now will maybe continue for a while" said Arinc. 'Gaza is being bombarded it is a big tragedy. In these circumstances the normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel at the level of ambassador does not seem possible" said Arinc.


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