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In the past 24 hours, hospitals in Gaza have been subjected to relentless bombardment. The Al-Shifa hospital complex, the largest medical facility where MSF staff still work, was hit several times, including the maternity ward and outpatient departments, leaving many dead and injured. Combat actions around the hospital do not stop. MSF teams and hundreds of patients are still inside Al-Shifa Hospital. MSF urgently reiterates its calls for an end to attacks on hospitals, for an immediate ceasefire and for the protection of medical facilities, medical staff and patients.
“They are killing us here, please do something,” wrote one of the MSF medics this morning from the basement of Al-Shifa hospital, where he and his family are sheltering from the constant bombardment. “Four or five families are hiding in the basement now, the shelling is so close, my children are crying and screaming in fear.”
“The situation in al-Shifa is truly catastrophic. We call on the Israeli government to stop this unrelenting attack on the health system in Gaza. Our staff and patients are inside Al-Shifa hospital where heavy bombardment has not stopped since yesterday,” says Ann Taylor, Head of Mission MSF in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Al-Shifa Hospital is the main hospital complex in the Gaza Strip, has 700 beds and provides acute and surgical care. Currently, there is no other facility in the Gaza Strip capable of receiving and treating so many patients with complex, sometimes life-threatening injuries. Despite regular attacks and staff shortages, they manage to keep the hospital running. Al-Shifa Hospital lost electricity yesterday. Ambulances can no longer move for the wounded and the continuous bombardment makes it impossible to evacuate patients and staff. At the time of this writing, our staff are witnessing people being shot at as they try to escape from the hospital.
“There are many patients who have already been operated on and cannot walk. They cannot evacuate, said Dr Mohammed Obeid, an MSF surgeon at Al-Shifa hospital. We need an ambulance to move them, we don’t have ambulances to evacuate all these patients”.
“We can’t leave because from [včerejšího] from morning to today we operated on about 25 patients. If I or the other surgeon aren’t here, who’s going to take care of the patients?” Obeid asked. There’s a patient who needs surgery and another one who’s already asleep [v narkóze].”
MSF condemns the Israeli military’s death warrant for civilians currently imprisoned in Al-Shifa hospital. There is a need for all warring parties to urgently and unconditionally conclude a truce; humanitarian aid must be delivered immediately to the entire Gaza Strip.
MSF has lost contact with the surgeon, who works and is sheltering in Al-Quds Hospital with his family. Other medical facilities, including Al Rantisi Hospital, which MSF has also supported in the past, were reportedly surrounded by Israeli tanks.
We urge the US, the UK, Canada, the member states of the League of Arab States, the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union, who have repeatedly called for respect for international humanitarian law, to take immediate measures to secure a ceasefire. The horrors unfolding before our eyes in Gaza clearly show that calls for restraint and respect for international humanitarian law have not been heard. Working purposefully to achieve a ceasefire is the most effective way to ensure the protection of civilians.
Thousands of people have been injured since October 7, many of whom are in critical condition and will require complex surgeries and ongoing treatment for weeks, if not months. This can only be achieved with a full ceasefire and unconditional humanitarian aid deliveries including access to food, fuel and water; the survival of the people of Gaza depends on it.