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Gaza protest

War and conflict

War in Gaza:: find out how we're responding
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More than one third of our projects are dedicated to providing assistance to people living in areas of war and armed conflict.

Armed conflict devastates lives. Targeted, harassed and trapped within hardship and poverty, people are often forced into flight. In other cases, people live under siege or in constant fear of  indiscriminate or even targeted attacks. In addition, people are often left impoverished without sufficient access to basic needs like food and medical care.

The consequences of war can be vast and catastrophic; from death and violence; to long-term lifechanging injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder; destroyed infrastructure and healthcare systems; as well as people being uprooted and forced to leave everything behind.

In conflict settings, depending on the priorities, we may set up operating theatres, clinics, nutrition programmes, epidemic control, medical care for victims of sexual violence, and maternity wards, among other services.

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We don’t take sides

In conflict zones, we do not take sides. It’s crucial for us to talk with all parties in a conflict to obtain access and provide assistance to affected communities. We will speak out about the suffering we observe, as well as any gross violations we may witness while providing assistance to people caught up in war and conflict. 

One of the ways we can maintain our independence is to ensure that all our funding for work in conflicts comes from private donors. Globally we accept very few government grants – three per cent of our total funding – and in war zones we do not use funds from governments that have any sort of tie with the conflict. 

Despite not supporting any of the warring parties, we are not always present on all sides of a conflict. This may be either because access is not granted to us by one or more of the parties, or due to insecurity, or because the main needs of people are already covered.

Our teams do not always have the capacity to fill every gap, however, we always put people in need first and provide them with the best medical care possible, no matter where they are from, what they believe in, or who they support.

1 June 2018