Gaza health situation ‘catastrophic’ despite truce; hospitals buckle under shortage

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Gaza health situation ‘catastrophic’ despite truce; hospitals buckle under shortage

A senior health official in Gaza has raised the alarm over the dire situation of hospitals in the northern part of the besieged enclave despite a truce, describing it as “catastrophic” amid lack of medicine and fuel.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said health facilities in Gaza are bearing the brunt of Israel’s brutal assault on the blockaded territory.

“The health situation in the northern Gaza Strip is currently catastrophic because of the inaccessibility of medical aid and fuel to the hospitals in the north," Qudra said.

“Above that, the situation in the southern Gaza Strip is not at the best level, since limited supplies of medical aid and fuel reach it but are unable to get to the North," he added.

The Palestinian official also noted that only three hospitals are still operating in Gaza, warning that they cannot cover the health requirements inside the strip as they are small and are serving some 900,000 people.

He went on to say that hospital beds are completely full, and wounded and sick people are lying on the ground, calling for a “guaranteed mechanism” to move hundreds of wounded on a daily basis to the hospitals in Egypt and other countries of the world.

Qudra further stressed the need to boost the health system in Gaza, calling for allowing the flow of medical aid and fuel to the strip while demanding large numbers of specialized medical teams to enhance hospital staff in the besieged enclave.

He also denounced the arrest of Muhammad Abu Salmiya, director of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, as “inhuman and illegal”, urging the international community to pressure the Israeli regime to release him and other medical staff.

Salmiya was arrested last week along with five other medical staff from the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Ministry of Health while they were evacuating patients from the hospital as part of a United Nations mission.

Israeli military spokesperson Doron Spielman said on Saturday that Abu Salmiya was being questioned following the regime’s allegations that the hospital houses a “command center” belonging to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Tel Aviv has long accused Hamas of using hospitals for housing Palestinian resistance fighters and their equipment and as an alleged launchpad for directing military operations against the occupying regime, a charge Hamas strongly denies.

Under such pretexts, the regime has been targeting hospitals in the besieged enclave since the beginning of its war on Gaza last month.

The Palestinian resistance group has called on the UN to form an investigative team in order to debunk Tel Aviv’s allegations.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

A four-day truce took effect on Friday to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza after seven weeks of unrelenting bombardment. The truce was extend for two more days on Monday.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, so far over 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli war, most of them women and children.


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