Statement from CARE International Secretary General Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro on Rafah Ground Offensive

ByCARE Australia May 10, 2024 0 comments

It is unconscionable that an offensive in Rafah has been launched, after months of the world calling for the exact opposite.

As a humanitarian organisation, we no longer have the words to describe the apocalyptic levels of pain and injustice Palestinian people in Gaza are facing. This is particularly true given that food and other vital aid cannot get in and people – including the chronically sick and injured – cannot get out. This is a uniquely lethal situation for Palestinian people, and for aid agencies trying to support them.

As we enter the eighth month of this current conflict, with this escalation the future becomes yet more precarious. UN predictions indicate that a further continuation of this war could create a setback of more than 20 years of human development in Gaza, causing the poverty rate to more than double.  Palestinians in Gaza face the possibility of being plunged back to being fully dependent on external aid at a scale not seen since 1948.

More than 77,700 Palestinians have been injured in the carnage, and the already horrific death toll of close to 35,000 people in Gaza is tragically likely to grow once debris is cleared. Reports on the ground from our staff, partners and the communities where we are working are terrifying. Earlier this week, we heard the following from *Farah as she prepared to flee Rafah with her family.

I am so incredibly scared. It is impossible to hide this fear from my children, even the one who is only a few months old. Since this morning, the bombing and the sound of artillery have not stopped. Everyone is leaving their homes. You can see women and children everywhere, running around on the streets, not knowing where to go. Everyone has the fear of death in their eyes. We are all in shock, yet have to focus so we know what to do so we can survive.”

We urge the Government of Israel to immediately stop the offensive on Rafah and to respect its obligations under International Humanitarian Law.  Only through the immediate implementation of a sustained ceasefire and the unimpeded entry and safe delivery of aid, can we start to bring peace and stability back to this region.  We call again for the release of all hostages; the ongoing fear and uncertainty for them and their families after seven months of this bloodshed must end. As a global community, we can no longer be bystanders to this bloodshed, we need to break this diplomatic deadlock with yet more determined action.

*Name changed for security reasons

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