Women and children sitting in tent
Grayscale Media

Gaza: Medical evacuations are a welcome start but not enough to save all patients at risk

Yesterday, patients began to be evacuated from the severely strained hospitals in Gaza. CARE West Bank and Gaza Country Director Hiba Tibi welcomed these first steps but underscored the pressing need for expedited evacuations, a substantially increased influx of aid, and an urgent ceasefire to protect all civilians:

“It is a relief that medical evacuations from Gaza have begun. Around 76 critically injured patients crossed the Rafah border on Wednesday. However, this is merely the tip of the iceberg.  With over 22,000 injuries, medical evacuations and supplies must be prioritized in the coming days to save lives and prevent further suffering.  

The conditions for patients are haunting. Hospitals are now ceasing operations as fuel runs out. Moreover, hospitals have not been spared from the violence - endangering the lives of patients and medical workers. Over one-third of hospitals and nearly two-thirds of primary health care have shut down. Yesterday, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital in Gaza City reportedly ran out of fuel and was forced to stop most of its activities, putting at risk the lives of 70 cancer patients. 

Doctors and nurses are struggling to cope with the volume of injured patients in appalling conditions. Operations are taking place in darkness with surgeons using torchlight, while critical drugs, including anesthetics, are being rationed.  

While a small number of aid trucks have entered Gaza carrying water, food, and medicines, the needs far outweigh the paltry supplies delivered so far due to restrictions at the border. Diseases are spreading quickly in overcrowded shelters. The conditions in UNRWA schools are catastrophic with a lack of clean water, food, toilets, and mattresses for sleeping. 

CARE International is urgently calling for a ceasefire. Two-thirds of the over 9,000 people reportedly killed in Gaza are children and women. Humanitarian workers must have safe, sustained, and unimpeded access to help people in need of assistance. Civilians must be able to access healthcare, and the needs of women and children must be met. All parties must abide by the rules of international humanitarian law.” 

For media inquiries, please contact Iolanda Jaquemet, Senior Humanitarian Communications Coordinator, CARE International via: [email protected].