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IFRC concerned over Palestinian Red Crescent work

GENEVA, Jan 7 (KUNA) -- The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Wednesday expressed extreme concern over the severely hampered humanitarian work of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).
"The PRCS is a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and spearheads the dangerous but critical life-saving work of emergency medical evacuations on the ground. Its ability to work safely is being severely undermined due to the growing number of violent incidents that its staff and volunteers are facing," said the IFRC.
The IFRC added that most recently, three PRCS medical teams and at least four ambulances have been caught in the crossfire.
In one typical incident on the evening of the 05 Jan, a PRCS ambulance which had been requested by the Israeli military to remove injured people from a location inside Gaza, was stopped, the ambulance was fired up and the medical team was forced to return to base without completing its humanitarian mission.
Furthermore, said the IFRC, on 4 January, a PRCS volunteer, Arafa Abdul Dayem, was killed while on duty, after an air strike hit a location in Jabaliya. Two other medical personnel were badly injured in this incident.
Because of such incidents, said the IFRC, the PRCS has been forced to evacuate several of its premises in areas where humanitarian needs are often greatest.
The PRCS, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is working hard to receive the necessary clearances from the Israeli authorities for its ambulances and medical teams to evacuate the dead and injured.
Latest incidents indicate, however, that this mechanism is totally insufficient.
"Such deterioration in the situation significantly worsens the plight for both the wounded and PRCS staff," said the IFRC.
The IFRC, together with the ICRC, called on all sides to do their utmost to ensure the safety of PRCS staff and personnel as they carry out essential life-saving humanitarian duties in the midst of the ongoing conflict.
Furthermore, the IFRC further appeals to the donor community and its member Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to take note of the PRCS appeal for emergency funding which it urgently needs in order to continue its humanitarian mission for the people of Gaza at this time. (end) hn.mt KUNA 071949 Jan 09NNNN