October 23, 2023
By Janice Biehn
(This story has been updated)
The Humanitarian Coalition today announced the launch of the “Gaza Humanitarian Emergency” appeal. As a member of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is participating in this joint appeal to further support emergency assistance relief efforts in Gaza.
The campaign will launch today and run until Sunday, November 12. On October 27 the Government of Canada announced that all donations made between October 7 and November 12 will be matched up to $10 million.
The appeal comes 16 days after conflict erupted on October 7. The militant group Hamas launched an attack on Israel, followed by Israeli retaliatory attacks on suspected Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip. Since then, more than 5,185 have been killed in both Israel and Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
In Gaza, where PWRDF partner al-Ahli Arab Hospital is located and sustained a devastating blast last week, the fatalities have reached 3,785, while hundreds more are believed to be trapped under the rubble. The hospital is owned and operated by the Episcopal (Anglican) Diocese of Jerusalem. About 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel. Read a report from the Diocese of Jerusalem about the hospital’s condition.
At least 30 per cent of all housing units in Gaza have been either destroyed, rendered uninhabitable or moderately damaged since the start of the hostilities. Food, water, medicine and fuel are quickly running out.
As health care systems are poised to collapse, it is estimated that more than 13,000 people are injured. About one million people have been internally displaced in just 10 days. Concerns over dehydration, lack of access to water, and waterborne diseases, are high given the collapse of water and sanitation services. Humanitarian aid supplies are trickling into Gaza, but not rapidly enough to make an impact.
The Humanitarian Coalition today released a statement on the war, including a call to the government of Canada to demand a ceasefire, demand unimpeded humanitarian access and ensure the protection of civilians and aid workers.
“Together, as a collective of neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organizations working toward the preservation of life and protection of civilian populations around the world, we are extremely concerned by the escalation of violence in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, and the catastrophic repercussions this violence is having on innocent lives. Thousands of civilians – including children – are suffering as a result of countless attacks, hunger, dehydration, sickness and the absence of healthcare and humanitarian assistance. In Gaza, the UN has said that water, food, fuel and medical supplies are running out. While our organizations and local partners are providing some immediate assistance to civilians on the ground, we are restricted in our ability to proceed due to the lack of safe humanitarian access and the unstable security situation.
“In order to continue carrying out life-saving aid operations, we are calling on the Canadian government and the international community to take diplomatic action to:
- Demand a ceasefire. As in any conflict with such significant loss of life, a ceasefire is essential to save lives, prevent the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and allow the delivery of critical aid and humanitarian assistance to suffering civilians. Humanitarian workers cannot operate safely under bombing campaigns and military strikes.
- Demand unimpeded humanitarian access. Despite recent international negotiations, life-saving aid is still mostly blocked from entering Gaza. Our organizations are also facing barriers in entering the West Bank, where humanitarian needs are growing. Aid must be allowed to reach those who need it most and must be accompanied by the restoration of essential public services including fuel, electricity and water.
- Ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian personnel. Canada must urge all parties to uphold international humanitarian law and condemn any and all attacks targeting civilians, civilian infrastructure, as well as medical and humanitarian personnel.”
The Humanitarian Coalition is a collaboration of 12 leading Canadian aid agencies who work together to raise funds so that humanitarian relief is delivered quickly and effectively. The Coalition comprises the Canadian Foodgrains Bank as well as Action Against Hunger, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, CARE Canada, Doctors of the World, Humanity & Inclusion, Islamic Relief Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Québec, Plan Canada, Save the Children and World Vision.
How you can help
To support the al-Ahli Arab Hospital during this time of crisis, please donate online to our Gaza Hospital Emergency Appeal. You can also donate by phone at 416-822-9083 (or leave a message toll-free at 1-866-308-7973 and we will return your call) or by mail. Send your cheque to PWRDF, 80 Hayden Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4Y 3G2. Please indicate “Gaza Hospital” in the memo field.