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
Posted in News
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.
Posted in News
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.
Posted in News
Tagged Gaza, Israel, UN
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…
Posted in News
Tagged Gaza, GSM
I just heard from Mikel Maron that the OpenStreetMap team is working hard to update routes within Gaza in an effort to provide better data sets for humanitarian groups. I love this type of on-the-fly work and I have a lot of respect for the OSM team and their willingness to drop what they are doing and start working on a critical map feature. The flexibility OSM has shows it’s value as a quickly adaptable humanitarian tool. I believe Deir al-Balah camp was just added a short while ago:
OSM is looking at ways to quickly purchase satellite imagery to support their emergency mapping efforts. If you are interested in helping raise funds for their efforts or IF YOU HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF GAZA STREET NAMES AND FEATURES add your name to their Wiki or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I should have more information shortly on how they’re planning on handling offers of assistance. In the mean time, you can follow developments over at their OpenStreetMap Gaza Wiki.
UPDATE: Reuters AlertNet has a write-up on the OpenStreetMap Gaza intiative which you can link to here.
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.
While I am not running off to the field these days I still want to what is out there for us to use. A simple comparison between Google Maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Open Street Map:
Microsoft Virtual Earth
Open Street Map
Google Maps is the clear winner. However, when you drill down the streets have limited detail and few street names. Still, it is nice to see that someone took the time to map a bit of Gaza and provide us with a few tools.
Posted in maps
Tagged Gaza, maps