Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are overwhelmed and unable to cope with the casualties from Israeli air strikes, the international Red Cross said on Sunday.
Gaza's hospitals urgently need medical equipment and people are afraid to go into the streets, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. Nearly 290 people have been killed in two days of Israeli strikes.
"The hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to cope with the scale and type of injuries that keep coming in," Marianne Robyn Whittington, an ICRC health delegate in Gaza, said in a statement from the organisation.
Pierre Wettach, head of the ICRC's delegation in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said it was essential to allow emergency supplies to enter Gaza.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has provided extra staff to hospitals, while workers and volunteers have been helping to evacuate the dead and wounded from damaged or destroyed buildings, the ICRC said.
The ICRC has so far been able to provide medical supplies to two hospitals in Gaza. A shipment of more was due on Sunday.
The ICRC reminded that international humanitarian law requires a clear distinction between civilians and military objectives and that medical facilities and personnel must also be protected.
Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2008, 12:00