Nödrop från hälsosektorn i Gaza: Öppna gränserna!

Foto: Sanad Latifa

Palestinian Medical Relief Society i Gaza vädjar till det internationella samfundet att utöva press på Israel för att öppna gränserna så att medicinsk utrustning och förnödenheter kan föras in och patienter kan få adekvat sjukvård. PMRS vädjar också till omvärlden att kräva ett slut på den etniska rensningen av palestinier i Gaza, som under 15 år har levt under blockad, i vad som beskrivs som ett utomhusfängelse på katastrofens rand. De senaste åtta dagarnas bombattacker har, utöver de mänskliga tragedier som det stora antalet dödade och sårade innebär, också inneburit enorma skador på människors hem och på offentlig infrastruktur. Över 500 bostäder har bombats, sju skolor, en hälsoklinik, en vattenavsaltningsanläggning, ett labb för analys av covidprover, brunnar och vattenledningar, gator, elnät och avlopp. Sjukhusen saknar medicinsk utrustning för att behandla och rädda liv. Läs PMRS vädjan här:

Save the People of Palestine
GAZA Health Statement for opening of borders

For the last 8 days and nights, the people of Gaza have been terrorized with an ongoing barrage of shelling by the Israeli army. The ongoing attempt to oppress the Gaza Strip by genocide has reached new levels of aggression and vehemence. With the United Nations stating that the aggression and sheer destruction of human life has now suppressed the unconscionable war crimes committed by Israel in the 2014 war. Whilst international bodies have advised Israel to exercise maximum restraint, Israel’s response was that the violent offensive will “continue for as long as necessary”, indicating there is no intention to abide by international humanitarian laws, or any that there is concern for the gratuitous loss of innocent Palestinian life.

For the last 15 years, the Gaza strip has been under strict blockade, with the sole purpose of cutting off Palestinian civilians from the very basic necessities they need to sustain life. With every basic human right and any semblance of dignity stripped from them, on a daily basis.

As a result of the ongoing blockade, the intermittent but consistent attacks and in the last 13 months COVID-19, the health infrastructure, already weak due to the ongoing challenges, has now reached a level beyond untenable.

The role of civil society organizations in assisting to reduce the burden of disease on the health infrastructure is vital. A key example is during the Great March of Return, whereby the coordination of an emergency referral pathway, utilsiing civil defense and service organizations assisted in reducing the number of secondary complications resulting in delayed medical treatment and a tangible reduction in loss of life for the same reasons.

Furthermore, in many cases, these organizations are the only entities that have access to the injured civilians and are necessary to mobilize the emergency response in these areas. Without them, many people would not be tended to, which would result in a higher death toll and rate of secondary complications such as amputations due to limbs being unviable.

This current Israeli military aggression in the last 8 days alone, according to reports from Gaza’s Ministry of Health indicate that:

• 1235 Palestinians have been injured – mostly women and children.
• 197 Palestinians have been killed – including 33 women and 59 children, and two medical doctors and the numbers are increasing by the hour.

Furthermore, reports from the Palestinian Ministry of Health indicate that:

• At least 23 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank – with 11 deaths reported on Friday only.
• 1 Palestinian have been killed in the Lud city.
• 2700 Palestinians have been injured in occupied Jerusalem and West Bank – with 1700 injured cases reported on Friday, in which 188 of them were injured by live bullets and some were critically and seriously injured.
• The whole population, but especially children in Gaza are subjected through continuous bombardment to severe psychological stress, which can be describes as psychological terror. 

The types of injuries being witnessed and treated:

  • Multiple body shrapnel wounds 
  • Burns – mostly to upper body 
  • Multiple organ injury internal organ injury and bleeding
  • Fractures 
  • Loss of limbs due to explosion, in addition amputation due to complications 
  • Abrasions/lacerations and contusions 
  • Vision or hearing loss or both 
  • Respiratory complications, including inhalation burns to trachea and airways 

Furthermore to the human damage, there have been material losses and damage to public infrastructure and civilians’ homes and farms. The occupation warplanes thus far have bombed: 

  • 500 residential towers and homes. 
  • 7 high rise buildings including hundreds of apartments an offices. 
  • 52 government centers, including police and security headquarters and facilities. 
  • 7 schools 
  • 1 Health clinic
  • Water desalination plant in North Gaza
  • Animal farms and agricultural lands necessary for food supplies 
  • Wells, irrigation networks
  • Streets, electricity networks, sewerage and water lines
  • Access to hospitals have been seriously reduced because of destruction of roads and streets. 

Current reports state that these organizations have no supplies or equipment to continue their essential work to treat and save the lives of Palestinians in Gaza. With the borders closed and the embargo on essential lifesaving supports, including:

  • Medical equipment and supplies such as medications, birthing kits, stretches, assistive devices, first aid supplies, pain medication and anesthesia, oxygen etc. 
  • Access to specialist services in hospitals in the West Bank- Currently these referrals are blocked.
  • The inflow of other supplies such as food and care packages, especially for those who have now lost their homes- currently standing at 12,000 families (36,000 people) of newly displaced people. 
  • Civil defense equipment to local people who are stuck under the rubble. There is serious shortage of these equipment due to the siege imposed on Gaza.

We therefore exhort the international community, to continuously apply pressure on Israel to open up the borders and crossings to allow much needed medical supplies and equipment, referrals to hospitals and medical care. Furthermore, we ask that the international community demands an end to the ethnic genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, who for the last 15 years have been living in what has repeatedly described as “an open-air prison”, with a systematic and racially motivated strategy to exterminate Palestinian rights and life. 

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
President of Palestinian Medical Relief Society