Sunday, June 20, 2021
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Gaza’s Health System Faces Risks Of Collapse, Needs Support As Israeli Attacks Continue


As the relentless Israeli airstrikes and the increasing
number of cases continue, the need for urgent medical care
has risen significantly in the Gaza Strip. The health care
system in the besieged enclave has never been more at risk
of collapse until now , Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights
Monitor, said today in a statement.
The Israeli military
attack on the Gaza Strip has increased the pressure on the
health system, already exhausted by the outbreak of the
Coronavirus pandemic and previously during the Israeli
blockade for nearly 15 years.

As of Saturday morning,
hospitals in Gaza received more than 140 dead and about
1,000 wounded civilians due to the continuous Israeli raids
since Monday. The vast number of injuries caused a large
percentage of hospital beds to become occupied, mainly
available intensive care beds.

The continued influx of
injured people coming into hospitals due to the bombing
operations has increased the burdens placed on the medical
staff and hospitals already suffering from a significant
lack of capabilities, medicines and medical supplies.
According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, the number of
medical items hospitals completely ran out of at the end of
last March reached 256, while the deficit in medical
requirements rose to 33%.

The number of injuries is
rapidly increasing; on the first day of the attacks 65
injuries were, now that number has reached more than 950 ,
an increase of about 15x in just five days.

The
medical teams in the Gaza strip have been attrited since
confronting the urgent situation of the Coronavirus outbreak
over a year ago. The Israeli military attack has further
increased the pressure on these teams by adding another
state of emergency and forcing them to deal with the growing
injuries resulting from it.

The Coronavirus in Gaza
has killed 980 people and infected more than 100,000
Palestinians there, 106 need medical care in hospitals, and
83 are critically ill in intensive care.

According to
the current data, the medical system in the Gaza Strip
cannot provide adequate health care considering the expected
rise in injuries due to the continued Israeli raids. It will
be difficult in the coming days to deal with these injuries,
especially critical ones, never mind people suffering from
chronic illnesses that have receiving regular health care
before the Israeli attack.

At the start of the
military attack, the Israeli authorities closed the Erez
crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, which is the only
designated way for people to move across the Gaza and
Israel. This could threaten the lives of hundreds of
patients who need to urgently travel to receive treatment
outside the Strip.
This closure would impede the transfer
of patients with injuries and serious illnesses to hospitals
in the West Bank or Jerusalem, which is a complicated
process even when the crossing is open, let alone if it were
closed. The process requires medical transfers and a series
of prior approvals from Israeli intelligence, which often
uses this to blackmail patients and their
families.

Moreover, the Israeli forces committed
several violations in their continuous attacks that violate
the right to health. On Tuesday, an Israeli aircraft bombed
a land near the Indonesian hospital in the northern Gaza
Strip, causing severe damage to the hospital. The Beit
Hanoun Hospital was also damaged by a similar
bombardment.

On the same day, Israeli warplanes bombed
an empty land near the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern
Gaza Strip, causing damage to an ambulance station belonging
to the Palestine Red Crescent Society with a single missile.
A local care center dedicated to maternal and child health
services and children’s vaccinations was also irreparably
damaged. The Ministry of Health announced that it can no
longer operate.

The systematic destruction of the main
streets and roads targeted by the Israeli aircraft with
dozens of raids impedes the movement of ambulances. This was
evident in the northern Gaza Strip, where it took several
hours for ambulances to transport the wounded victims due to
the indiscriminate bombing and destruction of
roads.

Power cuts in Gaza, whether due to the
destruction of the electricity network or lack of fuel, also
put additional risks on the health system, especially for
patients in hospitals or homes who need medical devices
linked to electricity.

Euro-Med Monitor
recommends:

  • Palestinian Authority to assume its
    responsibilities towards the health system in Gaza, and meet
    Gaza’s needs in terms of medicines, medical supplies and
    socialized cadres;
  • the relevant international
    institutions to secure a fast supply line to meet urgent
    needs related to treating the wounded;
  • Egypt to open
    the Rafah crossing to transport those who need medical care
    outside the Strip, and facilitate the movement of medical
    delegations and health supplies into the Gaza
    Strip;
  • the Israeli authorities to reopen the Erez
    crossing, allow the sick and wounded to leave for treatment
    and stop its collective punishment of Palestinians;
    and
  • the international community shoulder their
    responsibilities in providing e full protection for health
    facilities and medical personnel, and to pressure Israel to
    stop its violent attack on the
    Strip.

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