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October 16, 2023

22 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have been instructed by Israeli military forces to evacuate. But for many people, they remain the only safe place to shelter. Currently, 35,000 people are sheltering in Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa.

Bisan, a humanitarian youth volunteer with ActionAid Palestine, said:

“Surprisingly, we are still alive. Before becoming a shelter, this was one of the most important and largest hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The conditions here are miserable. We are without water, without food, without hygiene. People are sleeping and lying in the streets, in the corridors, and everywhere inside the hospital.”

Forcibly evacuating hospitals is not only a breach of international law but also a grave affront to humanity. With so many people injured and needing urgent treatment and care, these actions compound the already dire humanitarian situation and place the lives of patients and the medical professionals committed to treating them at severe risk.

The international community must come together to demand the reversal of evacuation orders and to ensure the protection of healthcare facilities and workers during this unprecedented time.

ActionAid continues to call for a ceasefire and an end to the repeated cycle of escalation. We are also calling for a safe humanitarian corridor to provide assistance and medicines and for the protection of civilians and infrastructure. Hospitals, schools, humanitarian facilities, and shelters must be protected from the fighting, they should not be either taken over by combatants or deliberately targeted.


Notes to editor 

Spokespeople are available:  

  • Riham Jafari, Communication and Advocacy Coordinator at ActionAid in Palestine
  • Soraida Hussein-Sabbah, Gender and Advocacy Specialist at Alianza por la Solidaridad (ActionAid in Spain)

For media requests, please email or call 704 665 9743.

About ActionAid  

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. 

Support Palestinians in crisis

As the human rights of people in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to be abused, women and children are especially at risk. Gaza faces a dire lack of medical facilities, schools, and homes, as so many have been hit by Israeli airstrikes. ActionAid works in communities near the border with Israel that have been most directly affected by the violence. ActionAid's women-led response is supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.