Middle East Humanitarian Crisis

The ongoing conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including Gaza, is impacting millions of people and generating unimaginable humanitarian needs, further exacerbating an already complex and protracted large-scale humanitarian crisis in the region.  

Red Cross Red Crescent response
Staff and volunteers of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in the Middle East are working around the clock – often in dangerous conditions - to provide vital assistance to those impacted by the hostilities. 

Magen David Adom (Israel’s National Society) has activated its national operations centre to:
  • Provide emergency medical services to people impacted by the conflict.
  • Support health authorities with interhospital transfers and evacuate people with limited mobility from border communities.
  • Provide free, online training for the general public, including first aid focusing on trauma care.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is the leading provider of emergency medical services in the occupied Palestinian territory. PRCS staff and volunteers in Gaza have been mobilized to:
  • Provide medical, surgical, and emergency health care, including psychosocial support.
  • Receive and distribute humanitarian aid through the Rafah border crossing.
  • Establish camps for people who are displaced, with support from the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. 
  • PRCS also continues to provide vital support in the West Bank.
The work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is guided by the seven Fundamental Principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

Canadian Red Cross response
The Canadian Red Cross has a long history of supporting the work of Magen David Adom (MDA – Israel’s National Society) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) as members of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

The Canadian Red Cross has mobilized funds and personnel to support the response to the current humanitarian crisis. Funds have gone to support the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, Lebanese Red Cross, MDA, and PRCS, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). We continue to coordinate with our Movement partners on further support.

In collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Norwegian Red Cross, and nine other National Red Cross Societies, the Canadian Red Cross is supporting the operation of a field hospital in Rafah, Gaza. The field hospital will help address the overwhelming and ongoing health needs due to the near collapse of Gaza’s health care system.

With funding from the public and the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross is supporting the field hospital with surgical equipment, medicines, diagnostic equipment, disinfection materials, and personnel.

Health care teams at this 60-bed hospital can provide medical care for up to 200 patients daily. Services include emergency surgical care; obstetric/gynecological, maternal, and newborn care; pediatric care; and outpatient/inpatient and emergency departments.

The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Red Cross, has also generously contributed funds to support other components of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement response to the ongoing violence.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) response
The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence. ICRC teams are providing vital support to people impacted in Gaza, including health care and distributing essential household items.

The ICRC has been calling for the release of hostages since the escalation of hostilities. It has publicly and repeatedly stated that access must be granted to the Red Cross and Red Crescent to conduct visits with the hostages to check on their well-being, bring medical aid and pass messages between families. To date, the ICRC has not received access to the hostages, which must be granted and agreed to by the parties involved in the conflict. 

In times of conflict, it is critical that civilians and humanitarian workers are protected. It is essential that people are able to access the health care and treatment they need, and that humanitarian workers have rapid, safe and unimpeded access to carry out their crucial life-saving activities. For additional information, visit the Frequently Asked Questions posted on the ICRC’s website.

How to support those impacted
Those wishing to help are encouraged to donate to the Middle East Humanitarian Crisis Appeal online or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

The Canadian Red Cross is supporting the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement efforts to alleviate suffering and provide humanitarian assistance for people affected by the ongoing and escalating October 2023 crisis in the Middle East. This includes the work of Magen David Adom (MDA – Israel’s National Society) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Support will be used for lifesaving interventions, ongoing relief efforts, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs arise. All humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross Red Crescent are guided by our seven fundamental principles including humanity, neutrality, and impartiality.