Peter Maurer, president of the Swiss-run International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has expressed shock and anger at the devastation he witnessed in Gaza, during his three-day mission to the territory.
Speaking to Swiss public radioexternal link, SRF, on Wednesday, the former Swiss diplomat said that the human toll of the conflict raised fundamental questions about the failure of the international political community after decades to find a political solution to this problem.
On a practical level, Maurer said that the most urgent thing was the provision of medical care because the large number of casualties needing treatment.
All over Gaza local hospitals are being overwhelmed by the sheer scale and intensity of injuries and are finding it very difficult to cope with the demands placed on them.
After arriving in the conflict zone, Maurer tweeted his reaction:
Aed Yaghi, co-director of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a partner of Medico International Suisse, told swissinfo.ch: “We are seeing cases of severe internal tissue damage that could be attributed to the use of new types of weaponry. It is very difficult for local doctors to treat these type of lesions with the limited resources available to them.”
In an interview with Swiss public television, RTS,external link Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), who is also currently in Gaza, reiterated the extremely difficult conditions under which humanitarian organisations are operating.
He confirmed that 11 UNRWA staff had lost their lives in the conflict and six schools had been commandeered for stocking arms and sheltering combatants.
The ICRC is negotiating with Israel to try to guarantee a secure corridor to allow Gaza to receive essential supplies.
swissinfo.ch with input from Marcela Águila Rubín