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Israel/Gaza Conflict: Americares is responding

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Active Emergency Responses

Find resources and situation updates here along with information specific to medical outreach. Resources include general guidelines for humanitarian response in emergencies as well as tools with information on current emergencies. Access information provided by US and international sources, such as the CDC, NIH and WHO and learn how you can help.

Israel/Gaza Crisis

Situation Overview

Since the Israel Gaza war started on October 7, 2023 when Israel was violently attacked, tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured throughout Israel and Gaza. An estimated 1.7 million people have been displaced throughout Gaza – about 75 percent of the population. Intense fighting continues to push thousands of people into Rafah, where over half of Gaza’s population is currently sheltering, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Those displaced are largely living in overcrowded, makeshift shelters without access to clean water and adequate nutrition, heightening health concerns and increasing reports of the spread of communicable diseases including diarrhea and respiratory infections.

A humanitarian pause that began on November 24 led to the release of some of the more than 200 people held hostage and the release of several Palestinian detainees. More than 130 Israelis and foreign nationals have not returned home, according to Israeli authorities. The conflict resumed when the pause ended on November 30. In Israel, hundreds of thousands of people residing near the Gaza Strip, as well as along the border with Lebanon, have either fled or been evacuated. For the latest update on the situation, read the most recent report from the UNOCHA.

The conflict has created a major humanitarian crisis. The health care system in Gaza is collapsing with hospitals and health centers damaged due to attacks on health facilities and shortages of electricity, medicine, equipment and specialized personnel. Most of Gaza’s hospitals and primary care facilities have ceased operating; the remaining health facilities are continuing to operate at limited capacity according to the World Health Organization. Hundreds of deaths of health and aid workers have also been reported. The humanitarian pause allowed for an increase in aid to Gaza; the number of trucks entering Gaza rose from about 40 a day to as many as 300 trucks a day. The aid coming into Gaza decreased significantly as the violence resumed and is now averaging around 150 trucks a day. More aid is desperately needed.

How do we decide who to help?

We believe that health is a human right. Americares follows humanitarian principles and gives priority to the most urgent cases irrespective of race, nationality, geography, gender, religious belief, political opinion or class. We always ensure the support we provide is neutral, impartial and the right match for the local needs. 

How is Americares responding?

We are working with partner organizations with staff on the ground in Israel and Gaza to increase access to medicine, medical supplies and mental health support for frontline health care providers and survivors.

In Gaza, Americares is delivering medicine and medical supplies, as well as providing funding to purchase medicines and for medical teams providing care in shelters. A shipment of medicines and medical supplies for Anera, funded in part by Americares, entered Gaza on Nov. 3. Americares first major shipment for the crisis—a shipment of essential medicines and medical supplies designed to treat a population of 100,000 people for three months—arrived in Gaza on Nov. 27. Anera has distributed a portion of the products from the first shipment to Medglobal, and Project HOPE clinical care teams, including medical teams providing care in shelters. Another 13 tons of aid is currently in transit—including prenatal vitamins and medications to treat infections, diabetes, hypertension and asthma Combined, these shipments include enough medicine to fill more than 200,000 prescriptions.

  • Intravenous solutions, syringes, bandages, catheters and stents funded by Americares, arrived in Gaza on Nov. 3.
  • An Americares shipment of essential medicines and medical supplies arrived in Gaza on Nov. 27. The shipment includes 6 tons of desperately needed surgical supplies, bandages, antibiotics, oral rehydration salts and labor and delivery supplies. A second major Americares shipment with 6 tons of essential medicines and medical supplies is currently in transit to Gaza. Additional shipments are expected to follow.
  • We have a logistics expert in Egypt participating in coordination meetings and facilitating shipments to Gaza.
  • In addition to providing funding for medicines, Americares is funding mental health support for Anera staff in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon and Jordan over the next year to help aid workers cope with stress and trauma. The project will provide both individual and group counseling sessions as well as training for managers supporting employees.
  • We are working on a needs assessment to determine how we can do more to help those who have experienced or witnessed horrific violence on the frontlines and the tragic loss of loved ones.

In Israel, Americares is working with multiple organizations to meet the physical and mental health needs of those affected by the crisis. Americares has awarded emergency funding to five partner organizations working in Israel and Gaza:

  • We are providing funding to Friends of United Hatzalah to support volunteer emergency medical technicians, paramedics and physicians assisting people injured or displaced by the war. The funding will be used to resupply United Hatzalah volunteer emergency medical personnel working in southern Israel with trauma kits, defibrillators and medic bags, as well as essential humanitarian aid supplies for volunteers and those displaced by the war.
  • Americares is providing funding to HIAS, a global Jewish humanitarian organization focused on protecting refugees, to support a mental health hotline in Israel and distribute household supplies and baby care items to a displaced Eritrean community fleeing the attacks in southern Israel.
  • Americares is also providing funding to IsraAID, a non-governmental organization that responds to emergencies and humanitarian crises, to provide mental health support and child-friendly spaces for populations displaced within Israel due to the hostilities.

“The situation is absolutely dire—tens of thousands of families need food, clean water and shelter—and hospitals are running out of fuel. Our support will help health facilities continue operating and providing essential health services to children and adults most impacted by this crisis,” said Americares Deputy Senior Vice President of Emergency Programs Provash Budden.

The immediate impact and fallout of this war is causing immeasurable damage to the mental and physical health of people in this region. We know the longer the war goes on, the more support will be needed for survivors and frontline responders. Americares is in active discussion with partners about how we can do more to help those who have experienced or witnessed horrific violence on the frontlines and the tragic loss of loved ones.

Are you getting aid into Gaza with the blockade? 

Yes. Americares immediately provided emergency funding to a partner organization with staff on the ground in Gaza to purchase the most critically needed medicines. Intravenous solutions, syringes, bandages, catheters and stents funded by Americares, arrived in Gaza on Nov. 3. A major shipment with 6 tons of medicine and medical supplies arrived on Nov. 27.

What does it mean to be a humanitarian organization?

Americares is an impartial humanitarian organization and as such, does not have any political or religious affiliations. It’s our mission to save lives and improve health for people affected by poverty or disaster. Americares believes that health is a human right irrespective of geography. We decide where to provide aid based on health needs, available resources and where we have partnerships with local organizations, including health care providers. Americares follows humanitarian principles and gives priority to the most urgent cases irrespective of race, nationality, gender, religious belief, political opinion or class.

For more information, click here:

Turkey and Syria Earthquakes

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Türkiye (Turkey) and Syria in the early morning hours of February 6, followed by a second powerful quake and more than 100 aftershocks, killing at least 50,000 people, injuring tens of thousands, collapsing countless buildings, and posing a staggering humanitarian crisis in a region already struggling with manmade crises from years of war, refugees fleeing conflict and economic instability. It was the strongest earthquake in the region in nearly a century and the aftershocks continue with the recent quakes causing more panic and death. The death toll rose as massive rescue operations transitioned to search and recovery and the winter cold threatened survivors. The disaster has affected millions of people in the region as many lack food, water and shelter. With major damage to health facilities in Türkiye and Syria, access to basic health care becomes an immediate concern.

Americares is offering assistance to partner organizations in Türkiye and Syria, focusing on support services that restore access to health care for displaced families and delivering medicines and relief supplies for health workers treating survivors.

For more information, click here:

The War in Ukraine

Situation Overview

On the morning of February 24th, 2022, Russian forces launched a multi-pronged invasion by land, air, and sea on Ukraine. The deadly conflict continues unabated. Even as Ukrainian forces made significant ground gains, strikes by Russia against Ukraine on civilian targets exacerbated concern for humanitarian needs in winter.

One year later, 17.7 million people need humanitarian assistance and nearly 8 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe. In Ukraine, 6.3 million people are internally displaced, and 6.9 million people are sheltering in place. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine reports that from February 24 to December 26, 2022, 6,884 civilians in Ukraine had been killed and 10,974 injured. The real numbers are likely much higher.

A year of war has caused widespread destruction, reducing some cities to rubble, damaging or destroying hundreds of thousands of homes along with critical infrastructure and leaving millions of people with limited or no access to electricity, water or heat. Many people are living either in collective centers or damaged buildings, without basic needs for daily life and vulnerable to a range of health threats. Internally displaced persons living in collective centers are most at risk with the majority being women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Overall, an estimated 14.5 million people in Ukraine need health assistance.

Americares Response

Americares is meeting health needs of children and adults affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through its support of local organizations in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.

To download a pdf of the report on our work in Ukraine in the first year, CLICK HERE.

People living in Ukraine face barriers to care: a shrinking health workforce (due to safety concerns and displacement), rising health care costs, declining or disappearing incomes and mass displacement. The WHO reports roughly one-third of people in active combat zones or Russian-controlled areas report they cannot access the medicines they need. Children and adults are going without vital vaccines, and people with chronic conditions – such as diabetes or dementia – have suffered dangerous interruptions in care.

Since the start of the war, we have provided total aid valued at more than $70 million to 74 local organizations assisting those affected by the war. Aid includes grants and shipments of medicine and medical supplies, including those delivered by volunteer Medical Outreach teams.

To date, Americares has awarded over 78 emergency grants valued at $3.6 million to 53 organizations working in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.

In the coming months, Americares will continue to support local organizations with medicine, medical and relief supplies and technical support, including training.

For more information, click here:

The COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Situation Overview

The COVID-19 outbreak, first reported in Wuhan China in December 2019 exploded into a Global Pandemic within weeks. After three years of the Pandemic, as “pandemic fatigue” pushes many to put aside preventive measures, vaccines have saved many lives.

Global COVID Snapshot

World deaths from COVID have reached more than 6 million (with experts including W.H.O estimating a much higher toll). Resistance to vaccine continues to challenge progress in finally defeating this highly contagious virus. Nearly 15 million more people died during the first two years of the Pandemic than has been reported, the W.H.O. found. READ MORE about this report on the COVID death toll in this CNN story.

Compounding the catastrophic death toll, globally, more than 10.5 million children have lost one or both of their parents during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly double the previous estimates, according to a research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics. Southeast Asia and Africa suffered the greatest rate of losses, with one out of every 50 children affected. In the Americas, this number dropped to one out of 150 children. Children in countries with lower vaccination rates and higher numbers of children per mother were more likely to be affected.

General Resources:
CDC Guidance If You Are Sick or Caring for Someone
CDC PPE Sequencing Guide
CDC Germ Prevention Poster
Pulse Oximeter Use in COVID-19 (Lifebox)
WHO Module: COVID-19 Preparedness, Readiness and IPC
WHO Module: COVID-19 Epidemiology, Risk factors, Definitions and Symptomology
WHO Module: IPC in context of COVID-19
WHO Home Care for Suspected Patients

Surgical Resources:
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland COVID-19 (coronavirus) Surgical Practice
From Advances in Surgery and the Johnson & Johnson Institute
American College of Surgeons COVID-19 and Surgery: Resources for the surgical community
American College of Surgeons Roadmap for Maintaining Essential Surgery during COVID-19 Pandemic
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists “Anesthesia Care of the Patient with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”
American Society of Anesthesiologists “COVID-19 Information”
Ti, L.K., Ang, L.S., Foong, T.W. et al. What we do when a COVID-19 patient needs an operation: operating room preparation and guidance. Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth (2020).

Health Crisis at Colombia-Venezuela Border

Situation Overview

Migration: More than 4 million people have fled Venezuela since 2014 to escape extreme food and medicine shortages, violence and political instability. More than half of the people fleeing have gone to Colombia, which has received more than 1.4 million people from Venezuela since 2014, according to the Colombian Government.

Health Care: Pharmacies and hospitals in Venezuela have severe shortages of medicine and supplies and inadequate staffing as medical professionals leave the country. Even in locations where medical services are available in Venezuela, falling wages and hyperinflation have put medical care out of reach for many families. The collapse of the health care system has exacerbated health conditions for the migrant population with many going months without care.

Response: Americares has set up clinics in towns near the border or where Venezuelans have settled to meet the primary health care needs of migrants who may arrive with dangerous health conditions such as high blood pressure that has gone untreated.

For more information, click here:

Hurricane Dorian

Situation Overview

Hurricane Dorian, the second most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record, smashed into the Bahamas and for 40 hours lashed Grand Bahama, the Abacos and other smaller northern islands with winds of 180 mph and more, 40 inches of rain and 20 foot storm surge. This catastrophic Category 5 storm left at least 50 confirmed dead with hundreds of people missing, many thousands are homeless with thousands of homes and other buildings including medical facilities seriously damaged or completely destroyed.

For more information, click here:

2017 Atlantic Hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, Maria

Situation Overview

The historic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season produced 17 named storms, most notably Harvey, Irma, and Maria that left hundreds dead, destroyed communities across the southern U.S. and Caribbean and caused an estimated $265 billion in damage – the most expensive hurricane season on record. Hurricane Harvey set a new mark for the most rainfall from a U.S. tropical storm. Hurricane Irma became one of the strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricanes ever recorded. Hurricane Maria was the most powerful hurricane to make landfall on the main island of Puerto Rico in 85 years.

For more information, click here: