According to the UN, at least 128 Palestinians have been killed and around 13 000 have been wounded, more than 3 600 of whom have bullet wounds. A large number of the wounded are under the age of 15. A Palestinian health worker has been killed, and according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 240 health workers have been injured. The situation in the hospitals in Gaza is extremely serious. There are shortages of medicines and other medical supplies, as well as surgical capacity.
‘It is unacceptable to fire live ammunition at protesters. It is also unacceptable for health workers to be injured while doing their job. I am deeply concerned about the critical humanitarian situation in Gaza and the large number of deaths and injuries. It is vital that the hospitals in Gaza have the resources they need to treat the injured, that medical supplies are brought in, and health workers are able to treat the wounded without risking their own lives,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The allocation of NOK 15 million from the humanitarian budget will be used to increase the hospitals’ capacity to deal with the large increase in the number of patients. The funding will be channelled through the ICRC and NORWAC (the Norwegian Aid Committee), which have surgical expertise and are particularly well placed to respond to this situation. With this additional allocation, Norway’s humanitarian aid to Palestine so far this year totals NOK 59 million.
‘As chair of the international donor group for Palestine (AHLC), Norway is working with the UN, the EU, Egypt and the parties themselves to alleviate the critical situation in Gaza. It is particularly important to improve the water and electricity supply and access for humanitarian relief. We are also working to reduce restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.