Khaled, a doctor in Al-Awda Hospital, the main maternity provider in Northern Gaza and a partner of ActionAid, said:
“The situation in Al-Awda hospital is critical, and we face huge challenges in providing services for our patients. We lack medicines, especially emergency and anaesthesia drugs. We will have to stop the activities if we do not receive more fuel. We are working on two generators alternatively. There has been no electricity at all for 17 days in Gaza. Capacity is a problem because there are a huge number of patients and not enough beds.
“The Israeli army called us six days ago to ask us to evacuate the hospital and evacuate the patients and the staff. They gave us two hours for evacuation. We told them that we would not evacuate the hospital. We cannot evacuate. We have patients, critical patients. And some of them need special care and close observation. All the hospitals around here are overcrowded. I cannot move any patients. We are insisting on staying in our hospital so we can continue to provide services for our patients, our injured, and our people. Al-Awda is the main provider of maternity services in the northern part of Gaza – we are the pioneers in this area. So, we are delivering babies here, during the attacks.”
The situation in Gaza right now is catastrophic and entirely avoidable. Air raids and bombings continue around the clock throughout Gaza, and vital supplies are running out. With no ceasefire, an ongoing siege and a looming ground offensive, there is no guarantee for the safety of millions of people. Many women are giving birth without any pain medication, and children are undergoing intensive surgery with no anaesthetic.
Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine, said: “The situation in hospitals could not be more precarious with vital fuel supplies for hospitals – and the lives of hundreds of babies on incubators – hanging by a thread. Birth should be a joyous occasion for new mothers, but many are having to give birth under life-threatening conditions without anaesthetic and under constant bombardment.”
Many hospitals are running out of emergency medicines, supplies and equipment while fuel has not been part of the aid allowed in leaving hospitals struggling to continue operating.
Riham continues: “The aid delivered so far is dwarfed by the enormous humanitarian needs of millions of people across Gaza. We need an immediate ceasefire and a flow of sustainable humanitarian aid, including fuel, to save the lives of countless families, women, children, and the sick and injured. Doctors and medical staff in all hospitals are committed to continue working despite everything – we must do everything we can to support them in their life saving work.”
ActionAid is urgently calling on the international community and leaders across the world to employ all available means to stop the bombing, ensure a ceasefire is in place, de-escalate the attacks and protect civilians, particularly women, girls and young people, and open a sustainable humanitarian corridor to get desperately needed aid.
We are working with our local partners in Gaza among them partner organisations delivering essential health services. We are working with our local partner Al Awda Health and Community Association who are in Gaza right now and are prioritising food parcels, non-food items and other emergency needs.
For more information and interviews with ActionAid spokespeople, please contact: Tim Brunero, 0405 285 547 / [email protected]