Relief at medical evacuations from Gaza - but it's just the tip of the iceberg

02 November 2023


Hiba Tibi, CARE West Bank and Gaza Country Director, says:

“It is a relief that medical evacuations from Gaza have begun. Around 76 critically injured patients crossed the Rafah border on Wednesday. However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. With over 22,000 injuries, medical evacuations and supplies must be prioritised in the coming days to save lives and prevent further suffering.

“The conditions for patients are haunting. Hospitals are now ceasing operations as fuel runs out. Hospitals have not been spared from the violence - endangering the lives of patients and medical workers. Over one-third of hospitals and nearly two-thirds of primary health care have shut down. Yesterday, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital in Gaza City reportedly ran out of fuel and was forced to stop most of its activities, putting at risk the lives of 70 cancer patients.

“Doctors and nurses are struggling to cope with the volume of injured patients in appalling conditions. Operations are taking place in darkness with surgeons using torch light, while critical drugs, including anaesthetic, are being rationed.

“While a small number of aid trucks have entered Gaza carrying water, food and medicines, the needs far outweigh the paltry supplies delivered so far due to restrictions at the border. Diseases are spreading quickly in overcrowded shelters. The conditions in UNRWA schools are catastrophic with a lack of clean water, food, toilets and mattresses for sleeping.

“CARE International is urgently calling for a ceasefire. Two-thirds of the over 9,000 people reportedly killed in Gaza are children and women. Humanitarian workers must have safe, sustained, and unimpeded access to help people in need of assistance. Civilians must be able to access healthcare, and the needs of women and children must be met. All parties must abide by the rules of international humanitarian law.”

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