Saturday, July 13, 2024

Majority of Gaza hospitals and clinics shut down: Palestinian health ministry

Out of the 35 hospitals in Gaza, 26 have shut down due to damage from bombardment or a lack of fuel, according to a report published by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health in Ramallah on Friday, citing medical sources from the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Of the 72 primary health care clinics, 52 have also been forced to close, it added.

More than 40 patients, including four premature babies, have died at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza’s largest hospital, in the last six days, according to the health ministry.

Most of the intensive care unit patients, who were on ventilators due to the lack of fuel and oxygen at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, have died, the doctor who leads the burns department at the hospital told Al-Jazeera over the phone from inside the facility on Friday.

Dr. Ahmad Mofeed Al-Mokhalalati noted a significant decrease in the number of premature babies in their care, with little hope for the survival of the remaining infants under the current conditions.

The hospital, which is Gaza’s largest, is grappling with a severe shortage of basic necessities — no water and no electricity in the main buildings of the compound, the doctor continued.

As a result, surgical operations have come to a halt due to the lack of electricity. This has led to an increase in suffering, especially among children who are now facing severe intestinal infections, a direct consequence of the unavailability of clean water, Al-Mokhalalati added.

And although he noted that Israeli forces promised to provide food, the supply delivered was grossly insufficient, catering to for only 40% of those inside the hospital, he stated.

The situation escalated when the Israeli forces stormed two buildings within the medical compound, with tanks still present in the area, the doctor noted. Snipers have been deployed around the hospital, adding a layer of fear and uncertainty according to Al-Mokhalalati.

Ashraf al-Qudra, the Ministry of Health spokesperson in al-Shifa Hospital, also said that the situation is “catastrophic”, as Israeli soldiers continue to raid the building.

“There is not a drop of water, the situation is catastrophic, doctors are unable to change dressings on wounds or perform surgery,” he said on Friday, in a televised interview with Al Jazeera.

“Children have a number of issues from diarrhoea to high temperatures, we aren’t able to treat them due to the lack of water and fuel in the hospital.”

He added that ambulances have not been able to come to the hospital to collect dead bodies due to the ongoing bombing.

“Israel forces are still carrying out searches across all rooms, even in the maternity ward,” he stated.

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