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HomesingaporeSingapore Red Cross personnel in Cairo to facilitate S$270k worth of relief...

Singapore Red Cross personnel in Cairo to facilitate S$270k worth of relief aid into Gaza

The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has sent a staff member to Egyptian capital Cairo to coordinate and facilitate desperately needed humanitarian supplies into war-torn Gaza.

The charity is working with its counterpart on the ground, the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC), to channel aid through the Rafah border crossing.

Mr Sahari Ani, group director and dean of the Singapore Red Cross Academy, which provides first aid training and education workshops, arrived in Cairo last week amid a humanitarian crisis caused by the Israel-Hamas war.

He told CNA’s Singapore Tonight on Thursday (Nov 2) that he is tasked with helping to identify the immediate and critical needs in Gaza, and to facilitate the availability of relief supplies.

“We (the SRC) are committed to contribute to the relief pipeline through the procurement of urgently-needed essential items,” he said.

“Working in Cairo allows us to have first-hand updates of the ground situation and (our partners’) operations, allowing us to respond quickly to address the evolving needs on the ground.”

The ERC’s headquarters in Cairo is the nerve centre and command post for coordinating and monitoring the aid operation into Gaza.

CONTRIBUTING RELIEF SUPPLIES

Earlier this week, the SRC said it is sending US$200,000 (S$273,000) worth of relief supplies to victims of the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The aid package includes medicine, hygiene kits, clean water, food provisions and equipment such as wheelchairs.

Mr Sahari said the items contain necessities “to enable healthcare personnel to continue providing life-saving and life-sustaining care.”

He said counterparts on the ground warned that essential supplies in the enclave are depleting at an alarming rate and time is running out for aid to arrive.

“The situation is dire and difficult,” he told CNA938.

“Families, women, children are trying to live by searching for safety and often without access to basic necessities like shelter, water and food.

“Medicine and medical equipment are running out. With the risks of electricity disruption, hospital operation will be critically affected as most of the life-support equipment require electricity to function.”

The situation is made worse by destroyed infrastructure, as well as communication and internet breakdowns that leave affected communities isolated, he added.

WHY IS IT SO TOUGH TO GET AID TO GAZA?

“One of the primary hurdles is ensuring the timely and secure delivery of aid through safe passages,” Mr Sahari said.

Since the war started, only a trickle of aid has entered the isolated enclave.

Desperate Gazans broke into food warehouses last Sunday, in what the United Nations called a “worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down”.

With a total blockade on Gaza imposed by Israel, which controls most of its land borders, the only entry point for humanitarian relief is through its southern border with Egypt.

He added that aid agencies are continuing to advocate for more access and safe passage into Gaza. 

“The ERC will continue to send relief items according to the allowed (limits) through the Rafah crossing,” he said.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society, which is leading frontline humanitarian efforts in Gaza, is instrumental in providing much needed aid and support for affected communities, he added.

However, severe shortages remain and medical supplies and necessities are insufficient to meet extensive needs.

“For us at SRC, we contribute at the backend, coordinating and ensuring the necessary, continual and sustainable pipeline of vital items.

“We are hopeful that once improved access into the Gaza Strip has been provided, we will be able to increase the frequency and the scale of relief items through to Gaza.”

He added that the “needs of the affected community in Gaza are massive and long term”, and fundraising efforts by the SRC are ongoing.

Those who wish to make a contribution may do so at redcross.sg/gazaresponse

Related:

WHO warns of 'imminent public health catastrophe' in Gaza

Israel PM Netanyahu rejects Gaza ceasefire as 'surrender to Hamas'
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