ActionAid is horrified to learn that Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza, run by our partner Al-Awda, has been hit by bombing at least three times in the last three days. Several people were injured, and the building also suffered damage in these reprehensible attacks. As one of the only functional hospitals in the north of the territory – and the only facility able to provide maternity services – Al-Awda is a lifeline for thousands of patients and pregnant women in the area.
Dr Adnan, head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Al-Awda Hospital, told ActionAid after the first incident on Monday:
“We were surprised by the bombing of two shells on the fourth building of the hospital. In front of me, two shells demolished the pole and entered the room – one of the patients’ rooms – and four [people] were injured, some of them visitors or workers in the hospital.
“We are peaceful people, and we provide a purely medical service, and we have no relation to anything. So, I am surprised by this bombing.
“We are insisting on staying and continuing. We returned to work as we were, and we will never stop.”
Elsewhere in Gaza too, hospitals and health facilities continue to come under attack, putting the lives of medical workers, patients, and displaced people at risk. Two hospitals in Khan Younis – Nasser and Al Amal – are reportedly under siege, while a child was reportedly killed amid tense fighting in the vicinity of Al-Shifa hospital, according to UNOCHA. In the West Bank, three Palestinian men were killed inside Ibn Sina Hospital on Tuesday after members of the Israeli undercover forces reportedly entered the facility disguised as medical staff and civilians.
We strongly condemn these attacks on medical facilities, which amount to a potential breach of international humanitarian law, and demand that Al-Awda and all hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank are respected and protected as safe havens.
Healthcare workers in Gaza are continuing to save lives against all odds while working under the most unimaginable conditions. Only 14 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional and are, on average, currently operating at more than 200% capacity, with some forced to turn away new patients.
All are experiencing a drastic shortage of medical supplies – including anesthetics needed for patients undergoing surgery – as well as fuel, food, and clean drinking water. There is a severe lack of staff, particularly specialized surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff. Yet the health needs of Gaza’s besieged population continue to grow by the day – with an increasing number of patients injured in airstrikes or falling sick from the inhumane living conditions at shelters for displaced people.
Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine, said:
“Once again the brave and resilient staff at Al-Awda hospital are having to sweep away the rubble and debris from yet another shelling. Hospitals should be a safe haven for medical workers to carry out their live-saving work in peace, but as these latest attacks yet again show, nowhere is safe in Gaza. We demand that the protected status of hospitals and all healthcare facilities is respected and upheld in accordance with international humanitarian law.
After four months of this crisis, the healthcare system in Gaza is on its knees while the health needs of its 2.3 million inhabitants’ soar. A permanent and immediate ceasefire is the only way to put an end to this catastrophe, preventing more loss of life, enabling life-saving aid to enter at scale and allowing hospitals and healthcare facilities to begin to recover.”
For media requests, please email Jenna.Farineau@actionaid.org or call 202-731-9593.
- Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director of ActionAid USA
- Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication for ActionAid Palestine
ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 41 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.