Islamic Relief's (IR) founder and president, Dr Hany El Banna, was in Gaza on Wednesday, visiting the region’s besieged residents and promoting IR's current Gaza Strip Appeal.
Along with IR Palestine staff, El Banna toured three local hospitals and met with those people worse affected by the current crisis, including patients whose operations have been postponed due to the sanctions.
“The machines have stopped because there are no spare parts and they can’t perform operations using generators alone. Only life-saving operations are being carried out, the rest are delayed,” El Banna said.
El Banna met with other individuals and organisations concerned about the escalating situation, including the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Popular Committee Against Siege (PCAS).
He was also interviewed by Islamic Satellite TV channel Al-Resala in a bid to raise awareness of IR’s £5 million Gaza Strip Appeal.
“The people of Gaza are upset and they want the international community to do something for them. They want the Muslim people, the Arab League, anyone to help. They are angry because it seems that people are ignoring them,” El Banna said.
“They don’t care about politics, about being pro this or pro that. This is a human catastrophe and they want to be dealt with as human beings,” he added.
Recent Israeli-imposed sanctions on the Gaza Strip have worsened what was already a critical situation.
Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants have been hit by power-cuts and severe food shortages after Israel closed borders to the region. Residents are not allowed to enter or leave freely; even those needing urgent medical assistance, with reports suggesting that an estimated 800 hospital patients are waiting for permission to leave for urgent treatment.