May 19, 2024

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The war between Israel and Hamas and the ceasefire talks in Gaza: live updates

The war between Israel and Hamas and the ceasefire talks in Gaza: live updates

Doctors and humanitarian relief organizations say what the Israeli military calls a “limited operation” in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, has already had devastating consequences over the past two days for medical workers and patients across the Strip.

The Israeli military’s orders for about 110,000 people to leave eastern Rafah on Monday spread fear throughout Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital, which is located within the area where Israel said it would use “excessive force,” said Dr. Marwan al-Homs, a hospital official. The director said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Fearing a raid by Israeli forces, like the one carried out in hospitals across Gaza, the medical staff at Al-Najjar Hospital rushed to transfer more than 200 patients. Some patients left in cars secured by family members, while those seriously injured were transported by ambulances to other hospitals in southern Gaza, including the European Hospital in Khan Yunis and the International Medical Corps field hospital in Rafah.

But even during the scramble to evacuate the hospital, Israeli air strikes on Rafah continued. Dr. Al-Hams said that the bodies of 58 people killed in the Israeli raids had arrived at the hospital since Sunday, adding that the hospital staff had to ask the families of the victims to bury the bodies themselves.

“The situation is not dangerous. He said the situation is disastrous, disastrous, disastrous.

Israeli military actions also immediately limited access to more basic health services throughout Rafah. Project Hope, a US-based relief organization that runs several clinics across Gaza, was forced to close a mobile medical unit inside the area that Israel had asked people to leave. It provided primary care in the eastern part of Rafah, treating upper respiratory infections and gastrointestinal diseases that were spreading among displaced Palestinians crowded into shelters with little access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

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The relief organization was also forced to close another medical clinic elsewhere in Rafah, outside the evacuation zone, early on Monday because six of its medical workers – including a general practitioner, a gynecologist and nurses – live inside the location where the Israeli army was located. Or right next to it. Shisa Latifi, deputy director of emergency preparedness at Project Hope, said it would begin operations.

Many medical workers had already been displaced from their homes in Khan Yunis and Gaza City, and were forced to flee again with their families, including dozens of children – this time, along with the patients they were treating in eastern Rafah.

An injured Palestinian woman was transferred to a hospital in the city of Rafah on Tuesday.credit…Hatem Khaled/Reuters

At least two delegations of doctors who tried to enter Gaza on Monday to support struggling hospitals in the northern part of the Strip were forced to return as the security situation deteriorated, even before the Israeli army took control of the Rafah crossing on Tuesday.

A delegation of Jordanian doctors, organized by the Hope Project, aimed to reach Kamal Adwan Hospital in the far north of Gaza to relieve pressure on medical staff and provide much-needed supplies, including anesthesia drugs, surgical sutures and gauze. This delegation was also supposed to hand over the salaries of the relief organization’s medical workers in Rafah, money they desperately needed to secure housing and transportation during the chaotic evacuation.

“We had contingency plans in place for a very long time, especially as it became more and more clear that the attack on Rafah was about to begin,” Ms. Latifi said. “But the consequences of what is happening continue to grow,” she added.

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Another delegation of medical workers, organized by the relief group MedGlobal, was about halfway from Cairo to Rafah on Monday when it began receiving alerts from Cairo. The WHO coordination team expected that the Rafah crossing would be closed soon.

The doctors tried to continue on their way. But once they were told the border crossing closure was imminent, “most of us realized it was going to be big,” said Dr. John Kahler, a co-founder of MedGlobal.

The delegation included an anesthesiologist and a midwife to support Al Awda Hospital, one of the few hospitals still able to provide maternity care to pregnant women. Dr. Kahler himself had intended to go to Kamal Adwan, where his organization opened a nutritional stabilization center for malnourished children over the weekend.

Speaking from Cairo on Tuesday, Dr. Kahler described the difficult decision to disband the delegation. He said that if this was the beginning of the ground offensive he had long threatened, moving into northern Gaza from Rafah would be too dangerous, even if doctors were able to pass through the Rafah crossing on Monday.

Dr. Kahler said the level of anxiety was “sky high” among team members and their Palestinian partners inside Gaza as they waited to see what would happen next.

“Babies will continue to be born; Injuries will continue to happen. He added that people will continue to die.