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Charities report communication cut-off with staff in Gaza as bombardment intensifies

30 Oct 2023 News

Several charities have reported losing contact with their colleagues and staff in Gaza as on-the-ground and aerial bombardment intensified. 

Over the weekend, ActionAid, Islamic Relief, MSF International and Oxfam reported that internet and mobile communication links had been severed “as part of an intensification of military operations” in the area.

Charities have since reported that communication links have resumed.

Since 7 October, 9,000 people have been killed in Gaza and Israel, according to Islamic Relief.

Islamic Relief: ‘We’re calling for an immediate ceasefire’

Islamic Relief said on Saturday that it had “lost contact with its staff in Gaza, and Palestinians are unable to contact their loved ones following the severing of internet and mobile communications links in the occupied enclave as part of an intensification of military operations”. 

“We’re calling for an immediate ceasefire to bring an end to this horrendous, brutal attack on the citizens of Gaza and prevent further loss of life. Hospitals and aid agencies must be able to tend to the wounded and reach the displaced safely with life-saving aid. Much more aid supplies – including fuel – need to be delivered across Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. 
 
“The relentless bombing of residential areas and the devastating impact on hospitals, shelters and communications infrastructure is completely unacceptable. Islamic Relief condemns the killing of all civilians, whether in Israel or Gaza.”

Yesterday, the charity posted on X that it had “been able to reconnect with our teams on the ground in Gaza”. 

ActionAid: ‘The situation is catastrophic’

ActionAid said on Friday that it lost all contact with its colleagues in Gaza on Friday, but is now back in touch.

The charity said on Friday: “We’re gravely concerned for their safety and that of all the people of Gaza as signs grow of a major land escalation following almost three weeks of bombardment. 

“We urgently call for the restoration of communication channels, as this isn’t only a matter of principle but also one of practical necessity. The blackout isolates the population, making it nearly impossible for them to seek help, share their stories, or maintain contact with loved ones.”

Riham Jafari, coordinator of advocacy and communication for ActionAid Palestine, said yesterday: “Thankfully we’re in communication again with our staff and partners following Friday’s blackout.

“They’re telling us that the situation is catastrophic, scarcity of water is becoming life threatening, people are dehydrated and becoming sick. Many can’t access clean water for drinking and resort to drinking salty or unclean water.”

Oxfam: ‘Colleagues are now uncontactable and forced silent’

Oxfam said on Friday that Gaza is “facing total communication blackout as on ground and air offensive intensifies”.

“Oxfam’s colleagues in Gaza have worked tirelessly with the international media for the past three weeks, giving hundreds of eye-witness accounts. They’re now uncontactable and forced silent.”

MSF: ‘We have lost contact with some of our Palestinian colleagues’

MSF International said on Friday: “We’re deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza. We have lost contact with some of our Palestinian colleagues on the ground.

“We’re particularly worried for the patients, medical staff and thousands of families taking shelter at Al Shifa hospital and other health facilities.”

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