More than 400 Palestinians have been killed in one of the deadliest 24 hours in Gaza. Airstrikes targeted areas near Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and Al-Quds Hospital in the western part of the Gaza Strip – intensifying the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the besieged territory.
Al-Shifa Hospital, which has the highest number of wounded patients and medical staff in the entire Gaza Strip, may have to stop operating as it will run out of fuel in the next 48 hours. Dr Mohammad Abu Salmiya – the director general of Al-Shifa Hospital – said the hospital has yet to receive any UN aid amid the total Israeli blockade of Gaza. The United Nations said the lives of at least 120 newborn babies in incubators in Gaza’s hospitals are at risk as fuel runs out.
Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine, said:
“Hospitals are relying on fuel-powered generators for their electricity. Fuel and medical supplies should be provided now to Gaza. Children, patients, babies in incubators, pregnant women will lose their lives if fuel is not provided to hospitals in Gaza.”
Somaya, a pregnant mother who has been displaced twice with her family since the bombardment on Gaza started, is now sheltering in a school near the city of Deir al Balah in central Gaza. She is due to give birth in five days and spoke to ActionAid about her worries:
“My children are screaming all night while there is bombing on us. I am pregnant. On the 28th of the month, I am supposed to give birth. I will have a cesarean section. Where should I go? Where will it be born? When the baby comes, it must be born in a clean place. Where is the cleanliness? What can we do?”
Somaya is also diabetic, and her treatment has run out, putting her life in danger. She continues:
“Whenever I take a dose of insulin, with this heat, it seems that it spoils. Every time I take a dose, I get dizzier. I must monitor my blood pressure and blood sugar. We are sheltering in a school now; where should I go to monitor it? This water is salty sea water; we have to drink it because we can’t find clean water. And we cannot clean these little children or bathe them because we are afraid they will get sick. We don’t know what to do. God is standing with us only.”
ActionAid is urgently calling for an immediate ceasefire and opening of a sustainable humanitarian corridor to allow desperately needed aid into Gaza, particularly fuel, which has so far not been part of any aid delivered. Hospitals are struggling to stay open without fuel, meaning that lifesaving health care is out of reach for thousands of people who desperately need it. UNRWA will exhaust its fuel reserves within the next three days.
UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini has called to immediately allow fuel supplies, adding that:
“No fuel will further strangle the children, women, and people of Gaza.”
“Neighborhoods surrounding hospitals have been targeted, putting those sheltering there at risk, terrified for their futures and living in fear. 400 civilians were killed in Gaza last night – most of them were women and children. 24 hospitals, including the Al-Quds, are under the threat of bombing at any time due to Israeli evacuation orders they received, according to the Red Crescent. Those hospitals are filled with the sick and wounded, and their courtyards include thousands of people who were displaced and have taken refuge there to escape the continuous bombing of Gaza.“
ActionAid is working with two local partners in Gaza who are doing their utmost to provide food and other relief items to families that they can reach. Still, access to supplies is limited, and transportation to the shelters is challenging and dangerous for those who are working on the ground.
“Hospitals and medical staff should not be targeted according to international and humanitarian law. The health system and hospitals are collapsing due to a severe shortage of fuel and medical supplies. Despite the entry of some food and medical supplies to Gaza, no fuel has entered Gaza since the 7th of October.”
In the spirit of compassion and humanity, we urgently call for the immediate delivery of vital fuel supplies to Gaza to ensure that hospitals, homes, and essential services can continue to operate. ActionAid is calling for an immediate ceasefire, the reversal of the evacuation order, and the guarantee of the full protection and safety of civilians.
For media requests, please email Christal.James@actionaid.org or call 704 665 9743.
- Wisam Shweiki – Head of Programmes at ActionAid Palestine
- Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication for ActionAid Palestine
- Soraida Hussein-Sabbah, Gender and Advocacy Specialist for ActionAid Spain, based in Ramallah, oPt.
ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 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.