Crisis in Gaza: The Unseen Battle Inside Hospitals Cut Off from the World

In the heart of Gaza, the grim reality of warfare has seeped into the halls of its two largest medical facilities, Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Quds Hospital.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Crisis in Gaza: The Unseen Battle Inside Hospitals Cut Off from the World
© Getty Images News/Ahmad Hasaballah

In the heart of Gaza, the grim reality of warfare has seeped into the halls of its two largest medical facilities, Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Quds Hospital. Both institutions, pivotal in the region's healthcare system, now stand on the brink of collapse.

The ongoing conflict in the enclave, intensified by Israeli forces' assault, has choked these hospitals' lifelines: fuel and electricity are scarce, rendering them virtually inoperative, as confirmed by Palestinian officials.

The situation in Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, is particularly dire. Mohammad Abu Salmiya, the hospital's director, paints a harrowing picture: premature babies swaddled in foil next to hot water bottles as a makeshift incubator, essential units shutting down, and the stark reality of dwindling fuel reserves.

This catastrophic scenario is emblematic of the broader humanitarian crisis engulfing the region.

Amidst Conflict: The Struggle to Preserve Life

The resilience of medical staff at these facilities is put to the test as they navigate the complexities of war.

Doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital are resisting a mandatory evacuation order issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The hospital's staff warns of the grave consequences of abandoning approximately 700 patients, as stated by the director-general of the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

In contrast, Al-Quds Hospital faces its own set of challenges. Efforts to evacuate the second-largest hospital were hindered by intense fighting, with reports of "intense gunfire" near the facility by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

The Israeli military claims to have engaged Hamas fighters allegedly positioned among civilians at the hospital. However, the PRCS refutes these allegations, asserting the absence of armed individuals within the hospital premises.

A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding

The toll of this prolonged conflict is staggering. As per the latest figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry in the occupied West Bank, the death toll since October 7 includes 11,180 Palestinians, encompassing 4,609 children and 3,100 women.

Additionally, 53 ambulances have been rendered inoperative. This crisis in Gaza's hospitals is not just a story of infrastructure failing under siege; it is a testament to the resilience of those fighting to save lives in the midst of chaos and the complex interplay of warfare, politics, and human suffering.

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