An Emergency Response Unit led by the Finnish Red Cross is being sent into Egypt to coordinate the delivery of emergency aid to Gaza

A volunteer, wearing Red Crescent's helmet and vest, walking in the middle of ruins and dust.
Photo: Palestiinan Punainen Puolikuu

An Emergency Response Unit led by the Finnish Red Cross is being sent into Egypt to coordinate the delivery of emergency aid to Gaza. The FRC Disaster Relief Fund is also funding aid work in Israel and Gaza. Since 7 October 2023, the situation for the inhabitants of Gaza has become untenable with the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalating more than it has done in recent years.

The Finnish Red Cross is sending an Emergency Response Unit (ERU) specialised in logistics to Egypt in cooperation with Red Cross Societies of other countries. The FRC-led unit of five people will coordinate the receipt, storage, and transport of international emergency aid from Egypt to Gaza.

In addition, a Finnish Red Cross aid worker, based in Beirut, Lebanon, will support the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) operation. The FRC Disaster Relief Fund is providing €200,000 of funding for the aid work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Israel and Gaza.

ERU to work in difficult circumstances

Since the fighting and attacks escalated in early October, more than half the population of Gaza have had to flee from their homes. There have been many civilian victims in both Israel and Gaza. Aid workers from both the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Israeli Magen David Adom have been killed while at work.

'Our Disaster Response Unit is going into a very difficult situation to help the aid get to the people who need it. Aid convoys have reached Gaza but, as yet, not enough. It is the task of all parties to a conflict to make sure that neutral humanitarian aid work can be done in safety, both for the recipients and for those helping them. Opening a border crossing briefly is not enough, there needs to be a mechanism to provide regular humanitarian aid. People in Gaza currently lack the basics, such as healthcare, food, water, and medication,' says Tiina Saarikoski, Director of International Operations and Programmes at the Finnish Red Cross.

Disaster Relief Fund supports aid efforts

The €200,000 provided by the FRC Disaster Relief Fund is to be used for ICRC humanitarian aid work.

The Committee has been working in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank since 1967. The ICRC provides aid to victims of conflict and conducts ongoing talks with the conflicted parties about the protection of civilians and how essential humanitarian aid can be provided to those who need it.

The Committee supports the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Israel's Magen David Adom, whose volunteers and employees help the wounded and those who must flee their home, for instance, by providing first aid and by transporting the injured to hospital. The Egyptian Red Crescent helps to transport aid across the border to Gaza.

The Finnish Red Cross closely follows aid requests from those in the Red Cross Movement who are active in the region, and is prepared to increase its support. If needed, the FRC can send more aid workers or material aid to the region.