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Israeli airstrikes push Palestinian healthcare system to breaking point

A Palestinian girl injured by the airstrikes. Photo by AFP

(Paris, July 22nd, 2014) With Israel increasing military operations, urgent humanitarian aid is unable to be deployed in Gaza. Several consignments of medical products – delivered by Doctors of the World and reserved for health centers with zero stock – have been blocked.

Sunday, July the 20th was one of the most deadly days since the launch of Operation Protective Edge – at least 60 Palestinians were killed, including 14 women and 17 children. The majority of the casualties so far have been civilians. The number of wounded quickly grew with the Israeli ground offensive, resulting in a massive increase in the need for emergency medicines and medical supplies.

Humanitarian and medical staff still cannot be deployed. The delivery of staple goods has been brought to a standstill. With the flow of goods blocked at the Kerem Shalom border crossing for the whole of Sunday, Doctors of the World’s teams were unable to supply several health centers with medical products.

Doctors of the World calls for an immediate and unconditional opening up of borders so that humanitarian aid can be delivered to Gaza.

Moreover, the Al Aqsa Der el Balah hospital – supported by Doctors of the World – was seriously damaged by shelling on Monday and the operating theatre was completely destroyed. Four people died, and many more were injured.

Doctors of the World calls for an immediate ceasefire and for all parties to respect international humanitarian law which is there to protect civilians from harm. We also condemn the targeting of hospitals which further hinders access to healthcare for the wounded .

(17th July) - Continued Israeli military operations are damaging the Palestinian healthcare system and restricting access to humanitarian aid. As the sanitary situation gets more critical with every passing day, Doctors of the World is strengthening its medical assistance to the civil population.

After ten days of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, the toll is heavy: more than 200 Palestinians dead and 1500 injured, mainly civilians, with 18,000 more displaced. Health services have been seriously damaged by airstrikes and have had to endure frequent power cuts.

“Most of the cases received are women and children,” says Dr Hosam Abu-Elwan, an emergency physician for Doctors of the World. “Some essential drugs are starting to dry up and no one knows how long our stock will last”.

At the request of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Doctors of the World is preparing to provide health facilities with medical supplies. Unfortunately, humanitarian aid is currently limited because of the continued bombings. Health workers are risking their lives to keep working despite clinics and ambulances being targeted by airstrikes.

Present in Gaza since 2002, Doctors of the World supports 11 health centres there. Based on extensive experience in previous crises, the Doctors of the World teams have given emergency care training to locals (first aid, emergency evacuation) so communities can provide first aid.

For more information, please contact:

Marie-Justine Delmas
+331 44 92 15 17 – +336 09 17 35 59


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