Statement on the Evacuation and its Humanitarian Consequences
According to International Humanitarian Law, collective punishment is a war crime and forcible transfer is a crime against humanity. We call for the mass evacuation order issued to 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza to be immediately revoked. That is plain for all to see.
In just the past 7 days, the damage inflicted on the Gaza Strip is like nothing Gazans have experienced before. With depleted medical, water and food supplies, no electricity, and an internally displaced population of over 400,000 people (20% of the population), families in Gaza are already struggling to survive. Road networks and infrastructure have been devastated, even if there was fuel and enough cars to transport families, it is simply not a viable option for most.
These orders overlook the reality in Gaza – half of the population are children, a significant portion of the population already have physical disabilities due to inadequate medical infrastructure and years of violence, and in just the last week at least 6,268 have been injured in incessant bombings. The evacuation orders demand that people move, but most are forced to walk for more than 10 miles through piles of rubble in under 24 hours. And with no food or water, these demands will push people beyond their physical limits.
This order does not guarantee that those fleeing will be granted safe passage. Already we have seen the deaths of 23 aid workers responding to casualties from bombings or trying to deliver relief.
Anera was founded after a similar crisis, the 1967 war. We are seeing this again, but at a higher magnitude. Our staff are still physically safe but they, alongside everyone in Gaza, fear this is only temporary.
“We join international calls for an end to the bombing and the mass expulsion of Palestinians in Gaza,” said Sean Carroll, Anera President and CEO. “Our priority will be to continue providing humanitarian aid to the extent possible, even if we are prevented from providing it to the extent needed. We, humanitarians following humanitarian law and principles, demand full cooperation to deliver as much aid as possible. We will work with the Egyptian government, other governments, the UN and other partners to deliver aid via Al-Arish Airport in the northern Sinai, and then on to the Rafah border crossing.”
While we will continue to provide what aid we can, the situation in Gaza is unimaginable. This order will only result in mass civilian casualties, distress and humanitarian needs beyond what is available in the time that it will be needed.
We call for an immediate ceasefire, revocation of the evacuation order, and respect for International Humanitarian Law.
Even after this war is over, the decimation of life and infrastructure in Gaza will take many years to overcome.