November 2nd, 2023 — Islamic Relief Canada is deeply disturbed by the increasing scale and gravity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. Each passing day, hundreds of innocent civilians are killed, and millions more are at risk from indiscriminate bombing and a crippling total blockade. As we approach one month of violence, Islamic Relief is once again renewing our calls to the Canadian government to exhaust every means in its power to act for an immediate ceasefire, and ensure unimpeded humanitarian access.
For weeks, our teams on the ground have warned that nowhere in Gaza is safe for civilians, nor humanitarian workers, as scores of hospitals, homes, schools, and places of worship have come under attack. Just recently, the Jabalia refugee camp was bombed, with at least 50 people reported having been killed and many more wounded.
With the initiation of a ground invasion and constant shutdown of communications in the Gaza Strip, we are gravely concerned for our staff who continue to put their lives at risk to provide emergency relief. Islamic Relief’s own office in Gaza was attacked and completely destroyed, and our partner – photojournalist Roshdi Sarraj – was also killed by a bomb in his home. Our staff in Gaza have lost many family members and are in a state of complete despair, sharing “everyone in Gaza is just awaiting death.”
Our teams are facing incredible challenges to aid delivery, due to the danger of indiscriminate bombing, as well as the destruction of cities and unstable infrastructure. Many buildings have been completely leveled or are on the verge of collapse, roads are disrupted and even unusable. It is increasingly difficult to transport goods and reach those most acutely in need.
Islamic Relief CEO Usama Khan shares, “Innocent civilians — thousands of children – are paying the price for relentless bombardments. We cannot keep our own staff safe from indiscriminate bombings. Displaced and having experienced loss themselves, they bravely push forward and continue to risk their lives every day to help innocent people in even greater need. Canada must protect these courageous workers, who cannot do their jobs safely in the absence of a ceasefire.”
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening by the minute. Islamic Relief calls on Canada to hold all parties accountable for attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure. Canada must join the United Nations and international consensus in calling for an immediate ceasefire and safe, unconditional and unimpeded humanitarian access.
The latest estimates from the United Nations indicate that over 8,700 people in Gaza have been killed, over 20,000 are injured, and over 1,600 are missing. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, over 3,300 injured and over 200 taken hostage. More than one million Palestinians have been forced to leave their homes and are now displaced. The crippling and total blockade on Gaza means a population of over 2.2 million people are without access to food, water, medicine, fuel, electricity and essential aid.
Gaza is running out of water, putting children at risk of death from dehydration or illness from drinking salinated water. Hospitals are running out of fuel, unable to operate equipment such as dialysis machines for those with kidney disease or incubators for premature babies.
Despite these challenges, our teams on the ground have been steadfast in delivering emergency aid and assistance to people in Gaza since the beginning of October, distributing over 2.2 million medical items, nearly 60,000 ready to eat meals, food parcels for 6,632 households, and water for over 10,000 people.
About Islamic Relief Canada
Islamic Relief Canada is a registered charity in Canada that works in more than 40 countries to provide humanitarian relief and build resilient, prosperous communities. Visit islamicrelief.ca for more information.