The following statement may be attributed to the American Red Cross:
“Two months since the start of hostilities, the conflict in Israel and Gaza continues to destroy the lives of civilians and communities. We mourn the thousands of people killed and support the work of the global Red Cross Movement in the reunification of loved ones, delivery of humanitarian aid and restoration of essential services as the conflict continues.
As a neutral, humanitarian organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has supported the release of hostages, enabling them to return safely to their families. The ICRC continues to pursue every possible avenue to secure the release of all remaining hostages, calling for urgent, immediate access to all those detained and for all sides to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.
In addition, ICRC experts remain in Gaza, including a war surgery team and a weapons contamination specialist. They have provided medical shipments and other critical supplies to hospitals including war-wounded kits, fuel for generators and ambulances, vital surgical equipment, foldable beds, chlorine tablets for safe drinking water, and mobility devices like crutches. Their installation of solar systems at 12 school shelters has helped provide needed energy for water well pumps and desalination plants. Medical assistance is ongoing at the European Gaza Hospital, with the addition of a nutrition program aimed at supporting patients during their recovery.
To support critical reunification efforts and these essential medical and health services, the American Red Cross has pledged $8 million to the ICRC thanks to the generosity of our donors.
In Gaza, there remains a drastic shortage of necessities including water, food, fuel and medical supplies. The Egyptian Red Crescent is playing a crucial role in getting supplies into Gaza at the Rafah border, but it is not nearly enough for the over 2.2 million people in need. Delivering much-needed aid to people affected by this conflict is a collective effort, and the American Red Cross is working in close collaboration with partners in the global Red Cross Movement to get help where it is needed most.
We have pledged an additional $2 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support passage of goods from Egypt into Gaza, as well as the urgent needs of evacuees arriving in Egypt, including healthcare services, water, shelter, sanitation, hygiene, and logistics support.
Since the violence escalated in early October, Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society have been responding, providing emergency assistance including health services, ambulance services and other critical needs. Sadly, many staff and volunteers from Magen David Adom, Palestine Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross have lost their lives during this conflict. The American Red Cross supports the heroic work of these dedicated humanitarians and grieves those killed while helping others. We stand firmly with the global Red Cross Movement in calling for civilians, medical workers, health facilities and aid workers to be protected.
This December, people of many faiths in the Middle East and around the world observe religious holidays and join meaningful traditions of light and love. Our hearts remain with those coping with tremendous loss and ongoing fear as the absence of loved ones is deeply felt. We continue to fervently hope and pray for an end to this violence.”
For those trying to locate or get in touch with a U.S. citizen, please contact the U.S. Department of State Overseas Citizens Services call 1-833-890-9595 or 1-606-641-0131 to connect to the coordinating group.
For those who wish to help people affected by the humanitarian crisis resulting from the conflict in Israel and Gaza that escalated in October 2023, we ask that they write “Middle East Humanitarian Crisis” in the memo line of a check and mail it with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter. Your donation will be used by the Red Cross Movement where it’s needed most to help all those in the impacted region.
Currently, the American Red Cross and our global Red Cross partners are not accepting donations of in-kind goods such as food, clothing or blankets. These items can be difficult to manage on the ground and divert resources from our mission. Other charitable organizations are better suited to manage such donations.
During emergencies, the American Red Cross will ship blood products outside of the U.S. following a specific request from the U. S. State Department for U.S. citizens overseas, at the request of the United Nations, or at the request of the affected Red Cross or Red Crescent society abroad. We have not received blood product requests for Israel or Gaza at this time.
For those interested in learning more about international humanitarian law and its vital role in protecting the innocent during armed conflict, please visit www.redcross.org/ihl. The American Red Cross has a duty to fulfill the Geneva Conventions’ purpose of reducing suffering during armed conflict. As part of our duty, the American Red Cross leads the effort to ensure Americans are informed of these laws and the humanitarian principles they reflect.
For more information about how the global Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is assisting those affected, visit icrc.org.