Over the past 24 hours, hospitals in Gaza have been subjected to incessant bombardment. The Al-Shifa hospital complex, the largest health facility where MSF staff still work, was hit several times, including the maternity and outpatient services, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. The hostilities around the hospital have not stopped. MSF teams and hundreds of patients are still at Al-Shifa hospital. MSF urgently reiterates its calls for an end to attacks on hospitals, an immediate ceasefire and the protection of medical facilities, medical staff and patients.
“We are being killed here, please do something,” one of the MSF nurses in the basement of Al-Shifa hospital was texted this morning, where he and his family sheltered from the incessant bombardments. “Four or five families are now sheltering in the basement, the bombings are so close that my children are crying and screaming in fear.
“The situation in al-Shifa is truly catastrophic. We call on the Israeli government to end this relentless attack on Gaza’s health system. Our staff and patients are at Al-Shifa hospital, where intense bombardment has not stopped since yesterday,” explains Ann Taylor, MSF head of mission in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Al-Shifa Hospital is the main hospital complex in the Gaza Strip, with 700 beds, providing emergency and surgical care. There is currently no other facility in the Gaza Strip capable of admitting and treating so many patients with complex, sometimes life-threatening, injuries. Despite regular attacks and shortages, staff managed to keep the hospital operational. Yesterday, Al-Shifa Hospital lost power. Ambulances can no longer travel to pick up the wounded, and incessant bombing prevents patients and staff from evacuating. As of this writing, our staff witnessed people being shot as they attempted to flee the hospital.
“Many patients have already had surgery and they can’t walk. They can’t evacuate,” said Dr Mohammed Obeid, an MSF surgeon at Al-Shifa hospital. We need an ambulance to move them, we don’t have ambulances to evacuate everyone. these patients.
“We can’t leave because since (yesterday) morning until today, we have operated on about 25 patients. If I am not there or the other surgeon, who will take care of the patients? Obeid asked. He there is a patient who needs surgery, another one is already sleeping (under anesthesia).
MSF denounces the death warrant against civilians currently stuck in Al-Shifa hospital signed by the Israeli army. There needs to be an urgent and unconditional ceasefire from all warring parties; Humanitarian aid must be provided to the entire Gaza Strip now.
MSF has lost contact with a surgeon who works and takes refuge in Al-Quds hospital with his family. Other health facilities, including Al Rantisi Hospital, which MSF has also supported in the past, were reportedly surrounded by Israeli tanks.
We urge the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the member states of the League of Arab States, the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the European Union, which have repeatedly called for respect of international humanitarian law (IHL), to take steps to secure a ceasefire now. The horrors unfolding before our eyes in Gaza clearly show that calls for restraint and respect for IHL have gone unheeded. Working decisively to achieve a ceasefire is the most effective way to ensure the protection of civilians.
Thousands of people have been injured since October 7, many of whom are in critical condition and will require complex surgeries and sustained treatment for weeks or even months. This can only be achieved with a complete ceasefire and an unconditional supply of humanitarian aid, including access to food, fuel and water; the survival of the people of Gaza depends on it.