October 17th, 2023: Burlington, Ontario — Islamic Relief Canada is horrified by the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza. Islamic Relief staff on the ground are warning that there is nowhere safe to seek refuge as civilians and aid workers continue to come under attack. Time is running out to get critical aid into Gaza to save lives.
On October 14th, Islamic Relief Canada launched “Access to Aid,” a joint campaign calling on the Canadian government to work to establish a humanitarian corridor and de-escalate the violence in Gaza. Today, as the humanitarian situation becomes increasingly grim, Islamic Relief Canada is underscoring the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire to accompany calls for a humanitarian corridor.
Over one million Palestinians are internally displaced in Gaza right now, with many having fled their homes after Israel issued an order for civilians to leave the north and go to the south. Nevertheless, heavy bombing continued in the south overnight, killing hundreds more people and reportedly trapping hundreds more under the rubble. Over one thousand children have been reported killed so far. The bombing has destroyed and damaged masses of civilian infrastructure including homes, schools, hospitals, ambulances, mosques, churches, water systems and shelters for displaced families. Moreover, food, water, electricity, and medical supplies are running out as Gaza faces a “total siege.”
Islamic Relief Canada’s CEO Usama Khan shares, “We are hearing from our teams on the ground that there is nowhere safe in Gaza. Just earlier today, Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza was bombed. Hundreds are already reported dead, many of whom are displaced women and children simply seeking refuge and sanctuary from the violence. This atrocity is a result of the international community’s failure to protect civilian lives. The situation is getting worse every minute. Canada and our allies must demand an immediate end to this violence and any further civilian suffering.”
This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated publicly that Canada is calling for “unimpeded humanitarian access and a humanitarian corridor so that essential aid like food, fuel, and water can be delivered to civilians in Gaza." While this statement is an important step, any corridor will only be effective if the violence stops.
Islamic Relief Canada is calling on the Canadian government to take urgent action to secure both a humanitarian corridor and an immediate ceasefire. We are calling on Canada to work with our allies to pursue all diplomatic channels to ensure the protection of civilians. Canada has a duty to uphold international humanitarian law and must hasten their efforts to protect the lives of innocent civilians.
Canadians can join Islamic Relief Canada, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and other international humanitarian agencies in calling on the government to prioritize the preservation of human life by writing to elected officials at AccessToAid.ca.