By Mick Krever, CNN
There is a deep feeling of trauma in Gaza, Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen from Gaza City.
“Traumatization is everywhere,” Maurer said. “I was shocked indeed by the impact of the shelling over the past couple of weeks on the neighborhood, but also a couple of hours later to see the children, women, and men who have been exposed to that shelling in hospitals – to see how wounded they were, and how difficult it was to cope with the numbers and the seriousness of the wounds of all those civilians who were in the hospitals I visited.”
Maurer was able to visit Gaza because of a shaky cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that seems to have held after going into effect early Tuesday.
During his visit, he tweeted that he had “never seen such massive destruction ever before” – strong words for the president of the Red Cross, who has no doubt seen quite some destruction in his time.
“Even if we are on the first day of a seemingly holding cease-fire, my clear opinion is that much more will have to be done over the days and weeks to come to scale up our operations in terms of health response, water and sanitation, sewage, economic livelihoods,” Maurer told Pleitgen. “A lot has been disrupted over the past couple of weeks.”
“In terms of response, I was on the one side positively surprised by the quality of work, by the engagement.”
“It will be a challenge. We are certainly motivated, and even more so after this visit today, to put as good as possible our resources into mobilizing this response.”
“We will have objective difficulties; we will have to engage with the Israelis in order to channel as much aid as possible through the crossing.”