AlertNet has compiled an impressive list of blog entries from folks inside Gaza. Most, it seems, are staff of international aid organizations including CARE International, OXFAM, Save the Children and Islamic Relief. FYI – It is a compilation of filings from aid agency sites. Here’s a sample:
With international journalists barred from Gaza, local aid workers have become a vital source of information from the ground. Here are some of the best aid worker blogs from inside Gaza:
Trapped in our own homes By Salwa El Tibi (Save the Children) Jan. 9At night, we hear screaming and crying By Jawad Harb (CARE International) Jan. 8
Trials of a Gaza aid worker By Salwa El Tibi (Save the Children) Jan. 8
Dad, when are we going to die? By Jawad Harb (CARE International) Jan. 7
Gaza: Are we not human? Mohammed Ali (Oxfam) Jan. 7
Gaza aid worker diary Hatem Shurrab (Islamic Relief) Jan. 7
Gaza: No words left Islamic Relief/CAFOD Jan. 7
Our house was shaken by six airstrikes Jawad Harb (CARE International) Dec. 31
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Tagged blogs, Gaza
GENEVA, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Relief workers found four starving children sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses in a house in a part of Gaza City bombed by Israeli forces, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday.
The ICRC accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to the hit area and demanded it grant safe access for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to return to evacuate more wounded. “This is a shocking incident,” said Pierre Wettach, ICRC chief for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. “The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestinian Red Crescent to assist the wounded,” he said. In unusually strong terms, the neutral agency said it believed Israel had breached international humanitarian law in the incident.
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Tagged Gaza, ICRC, Israel
Soldiers rested on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza during the three-hour cease-fire on Wednesday. - Moises Saman for The New York Times
The New York Times is reporting that food aid into shipments into Gaza by the UN have been stopped after one of it’s contract drivers was killed, it appears, entering from Israel. A map of the area is below:
JERUSALEM — The United Nations suspended its food aid deliveries into Gaza on Thursday after one of its contract drivers was killed during an Israeli attack on a delivery convoy at a border crossing, the United Nations said.
The suspension by the United Nations came after rockets were fired from Lebanon on Thursday, landing in northern Israel and raising concerns they could represent a broadening of the conflict. However, both the Israeli and Lebanese governments played down their significance as international efforts to end the 13-day war in the Gaza Strip continued with the arrival of Israeli negotiators in Cairo.
Egyptian officials said the Israeli officials were meeting with the head of Egyptian military intelligence, Omar Suleiman, to explore a proposal devised by Egypt and France as what officials in Paris called a road map to a cease-fire. There was no immediate word on the outcome of the talks.
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Tagged Gaza, Israel, UN
The BBC is reporting that “Ethiopia’s parliament has passed a controversial bill imposing tight restrictions on aid agencies.” From the article:
Foreign agencies are prohibited from a number of areas including human rights, equality, conflict resolution and the rights of children.
Local groups that receive more than 10% of their funding from abroad are also banned from working in these areas.
Under discussion for months, the bill has already been considerably modified amid objections from aid organisations.
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GigaOm has written an article about the targeting of telecommunication systems in Gaza. PalTel, the local provider, has lost 90% of it’s infrastructure. From the article:
Israel’s strikes into Gaza continue apace, and news stories are pointing out that the conflict is being fought online as well — Twitter, YouTube and hacking web sites are playing a role, as ways to get information out of the country and dispense propaganda. There’s no need to drop pamphlets when you can post video of soldiers destroying a government building on YouTube or send threatening texts. The delivery mechanism is new, but propaganda isn’t.
Neither are the efforts to take out the delivery mechanism and means of communications. However, with Hamas using the same technology as citizens, the scope of such destruction is much wider. On Sunday, Palestinian mobile operator Paltel said that 90 percent of its infrastrucutre in Gaza was down, potentially cutting off communications via cell phone. Warning that the Gaza strip could be “disconnected from the outside world,” Paltel issued a statement that read…
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Tagged Gaza, GSM
Photo courtesy of MSF
I have always looked at MSF as the canary in the coal mine of humanitarian aid. If they say it is getting bad then other folks should start lining up. They don’t stray far from their mandate of providing medical aid in the world’s worst situations. Gaza did not is not on their Top Ten Humanitarian Crises even thoug they were working there full time. Now, in light of recent events they have switched into emergency mode and is attempting to get additional medical teams into Gaza. From their site:
More than a week after the first air strikes on Gaza Strip and following the beginning of the land incursion of Israeli forces, surgical services are overwhelmed and in need of surgeons specialised in vascular surgery in order to deal with the number of wounded. In Gaza city, the intensive care unit of Shifa referral hospital has reached the limits of its capacity. The insecurity is preventing patients needing post operative follow up and health personnel from reaching health structures.
Three MSF expatriate volunteers – a field coordinator, doctor and nurse) arrived in Gaza Strip on Wednesday, December 31, to reinforce the local teams composed of 35 health personnel.
Peter over at The Road to the Horizon Tweeted earlier that Al Jazeera is using Ushahidi to track events in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The Ushahidi blog has the details but here is an excerpt:
It made sense that Al Jazeera’s new media team got in touch with us via Twitter – email and Skype came later. A week ago they asked us for the alpha code to see what they could do with it around the recent activity in Gaza. This was the first time a non-Ushahidi team had deployed the alpha-level software. You can see it at http://labs.aljazeera.net/warongaza.
Instructions from Riyaad on the Al Jazeera team:
“If you’re anywhere in the world and an event is taking place to do with #gaza #israel send a text to: +45609910303 – Start it with GAZA.” You can also, SMS 37191 / +45609910303 – Twitter: @ajgaza
UPDATE: You can also follow Al Jazeera’s Gaza conflict Twitter feed @ajgaza
Tragically, the year is getting off to a busy start. The BBC has the latest:
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 has rocked eastern Indonesia, seismologists say.
The tremor struck south-west of Manokwari, West Papua province, at 0443 on Sunday (1943 GMT), the US Geological Survey said.
Residents ran outdoors and to higher ground, but a tsunami alert was withdrawn within an hour.
The Indonesian archipelago lies over several continental plates where seismic activity happens regularly.
While the local seismology agency said the quake had a magnitude of 7.2, the US Geological Survey put the quake at a stronger 7.6.
Hasim Rumatiga, a local health official, told Associated Press that electricity went off and residents ran to higher ground.
A policeman said that without power it was difficult to check for damage in Manokwari, the seaside capital of the province, AFP news agency reported.
He added that the police and military had been helping people get to higher ground.
A huge quake off western Indonesia on 26 December, 2004 caused a massive tsunami that killed around 230,000 people around the region.
UPDATE: Here is the latest from the BBC.
CNN update on the situation in Gaza.
JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israeli troops began moving into Gaza on Saturday night, intent on taking out Hamas rocket-launching sites, after a week of airstrikes into the Hamas-controlled territory, Israel Defense Forces said.
“We have just a short while ago launched the second stage of the operation against Hamas infrastructure,” IDF spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich told CNN.
“The goal is to try and take over some of those launching areas that were responsible for the many launches — the thousands of launches, in fact — toward the Israeli civilians,” she said.
UPDATE: See latest post for Gaza map comparison
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Tagged CNN, Gaza