ActionAid calls for a ceasefire to protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians under threat

  • Date: 16/10/2023
  • Author: Jo-Ann Ward
alestinians inspect a mosque destroyed in Israeli strikes on Gaza City's Shati refugee camp early on October 9, 2023.

ActionAid today called for an immediate ceasefire to protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians whose lives are under threat.

The humanitarian agency said the escalation of hostilities in the last ten days has already cost thousands of lives, including young children, and threatens to take so many more. It said a ground invasion of Gaza by Israel would be “catastrophic and unthinkable.”

“ActionAid strongly condemns the violence in Israel and Gaza, and calls on all for a ceasefire and to stop all hostilities in order to protect the lives of innocent civilians. We are also calling for a safe humanitarian corridor to provide assistance and medicines and for the protection of civilian infrastructure and civilians.” it said in a statement.

The agency asked for a reversal of the instruction by the Israeli military that 22 hospitals in the Gaza Strip evacuate, despite the fact that for many people hospitals remain the only safe place to shelter. Currently, 35,000 people are sheltering in Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa. 

Bisan, a humanitarian youth volunteer with ActionAid Palestine who is sheltering in AL-Shifa hospital, said: “Surprisingly we are still alive. Before becoming a shelter, this was one of the most important and largest hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The conditions here are miserable. We are without water, without food, without hygiene. People are sleeping and lying in the streets, in the corridors and everywhere inside the hospital.”  

ActionAid said forcibly evacuating hospitals is not only a breach of international law, but also a grave affront to humanity with so many people injured and already suffering, needing urgent treatment and care.

“These actions compound the already dire humanitarian situation and place the lives of patients and the medical professionals committed to treating them at severe risk. “ Actionaid said in a statement,

It added: “The international community must come together to demand the reversal of evacuation orders and to ensure the protection of healthcare facilities and workers during this unprecedented time.  “

Hospitals, schools, humanitarian facilities and shelters must be protected from the fighting, they should not be either taken over by combatants or deliberately targeted. 

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