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Aid agencies in firing line as Gaza crisis deepens

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Aid agencies in firing line as Gaza crisis deepens

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Aid agencies say Gaza is plunging deeper into a humanitarian crisis with each passing day of the Israeli offensive. In periods of relative calm people ventured out to get food, forming long queues outside UN facilities. The world body’s relief organisation in Gaza says the combat is making it increasingly difficult to distribute the limited aid that gets in to Gaza.

The Red Cross says security and a lack of medical supplies are big concerns. “If security conditions allow, and that’s of paramount importance, obviously we’ll consider bringing in more medical teams. That’s at the heart of the crisis. It’s crucial that injured civilians aren’t just brought to hospital, I mean that ambulances can get to them, but that they can receive the necessary treatment when they arrive. At the moment people are dying for want of access to treatment,” said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, the ICRC’s Director of Operations Some aid workers in the Strip say their colleagues have been caught up in the conflict. Eva Yeshewitz of the Free Gaza movement said: “Every day we risk this kind of thing. The ambulance drivers, the medical staff – they’re the ones who are paying the price with their lives to evacuate people when there are F-16s and surveillance planes and Apaches going around and shooting at people, killing civilians and terrorising the whole population. These people are heroes.” It is thought around a quarter of those killed so far have been civilians. Israel says its doing its best to avoid harming ordinary people and that it wants to let more aid in to Gaza.