CT aid groups say they're working to help children and families hurt by Israel-Hamas war
Humanitarian groups based in Connecticut are working in Gaza and in Israel to help civilians, as fighting between Israel and Hamas continues.
“We have unimaginable access issues, in terms of getting personnel, and supplies, most notably food and water, into Gaza,” said Nathaniel Raymond, executive director of the Humanitarian Research Lab at the Yale School of Public Health.
Raymond told Connecticut Public’s “Where We Live” those access issues can also complicate efforts to get civilians out of harm's way.
It’s been almost impossible to get civilians out of Gaza, or bring food and water in, he said.
Aid workers are under constant bombardment, while trying to help people with severe burns, crushing injuries, and shrapnel wounds, he said. Workers are constantly trying to decide if they can risk their own safety to help, which are situations they most want to avoid, he said.
President Joe Biden has called for a brief halt in the fighting to address the worsening humanitarian crisis. U.S. officials, including several members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation, say they are not seeking a ceasefire but short pauses in specific areas to allow aid deliveries or other humanitarian activity.
More than 3,700 Palestinian children and minors have been killed in Gaza in just under a month of fighting, and bombings have driven more than half the territory’s 2.3 million people from their homes, while food, water and fuel run low.
As Israeli troops encircle Gaza City and press ahead with a ground offensive, the death toll is expected to grow.
The war was triggered by the Hamas militant group's cross-border attack on Oct. 7. About 1,400 people in Israel were killed and 240 others were taken hostage. More than 9,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since then, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. It is the fifth and by far deadliest war between Israel and Hamas.
Stamford-based Americares has a team in Egypt hoping to transport medication into Gaza, said Christine Squires, the organization’s president.
“We are preparing a shipment of essential medicines designed to treat 100,000 people for three months,” she told Connecticut Public. “That's planned for Gaza. It includes surgical supplies, bandages, antibiotics, oral rehydration salt, and also things like medication for hypertension, asthma, and other chronic health conditions that are going to continue to get worse over time.”
The conditions in Gaza are overwhelming, Squires said, adding that infectious diseases could spread as displaced people are crowded into shelters without water and sanitation.
In Israel, she said Americares is supporting volunteer emergency medical teams, and a mental health hotline. They are also providing household supplies for Israelis who have had to leave their homes.
Listen to the “Where We Live” conversation.
Connecticut Public Radio’s Catherine Shen, Tess Terrible, Patrick Skahill and The Associated Press contributed to this report.