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Palestinian Red Crescent Out of Medicine, Supplies - 2002-05-07

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says thousands of people left homeless by recent violence in Palestinian territories are in urgent need of emergency medical care. The organization is appealing for more than $1 million for health care in the Palestinian areas.

The International Red Cross says the Palestine Red Crescent Society has run out of medicines and medical supplies. It says it can no longer carry out its primary health care and home-based programs for sick and destitute Palestinians.

Red Cross spokesman Denis McClean says that during the past month, the crisis has left thousands of people homeless. He says they have not been able to get either emergency or regular public health care in hospitals or clinics.

"Many of these people have been confined to their homes now for several weeks," said Mr. McClean. "It is important that we have sufficient medicines and medical supplies available to bring to them in their homes."

"Home delivery of care is very important now," he went on, "especially given the fact that people are afraid to move around the streets, particularly after dark. More and more mobile services are being relied on by the general population to get basic outpatient treatment."

Mr. McClean says the health needs of the internally displaced and homeless people in Gaza and the West Bank are high. In the Jenin refugee camp alone, he says an estimated 2,000 people need emergency medical assistance.

A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, Fadela Chaib, says the organization continues to have difficulty getting medical supplies into the Palestine territories, noting that "40 emergency health kits are still stuck in Amman. WHO is just trying to find a way to transport them to the Palestinian occupied territories. But since now, we did not succeed."

Ms. Chaib says the WHO is in contact with the Israeli Health Ministry to try to resolve the problem. She says Palestinians in need of medical assistance continue to have difficulty reaching doctors and medical facilities.