In the midst of escalating tension and fear of a looming war following the recent incursion by Hamas fighters into Israel, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is preparing a medicine donation to hospitals and health facilities in Gaza to address the urgent need on the ground.
According to the international organisation, alarming shortages of drugs, consumables, and fuel for generators have crippled hospitals, exacerbating the already dire healthcare crisis.
MSF said authorities had reported over 2 200 injuries and over 300 deaths, including 20 children in Gaza.
In Israel, over 600 have died, and over 2 000 are reported injured by Monday.
“Health facilities need this equipment because of the many injured patients.
“Hospitals are overcrowded with injured people, there is a shortage of drugs and consumables and a shortage of fuel for generators,” MSF’s deputy coordinator in Gaza, Ayman Al-Djaroucha, said.
Compounding the challenges faced by medical staff was the lack of a safe option to move patients to health facilities.
“Ambulances can’t be used right now because they’re being hit by airstrikes.”
“In response to these dire circumstances, MSF appeals to all involved parties to uphold the sanctity of medical facilities, vehicles, and personnel,” said medical coordinator for MSF in Gaza, Darwin Diaz.
Teams of local MSF staff have been providing surgical and inpatient care in Al-Awda Hospital since Sunday and the bed capacity has been upgraded to its maximum of 26 in preparation for a high influx of expected patients.
Israel on Monday said its troops backed by helicopters had killed armed infiltrators entering the country from Lebanon, raising fears of a war.
An official with Hezbollah denied that the group had mounted any operation into Israel.
Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militant group powerful in southern Lebanon, is backed by Iran like Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told mayors of southern towns hit by the surprise assault that Israel’s response would “change the Middle East”.
Israel’s Kan TV said the death toll from the Hamas attack had climbed to 800. In Hamas-controlled Gaza, Israel pressed on with intensive retaliatory strikes.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant announced Israel’s tightened blockade which would keep even food and fuel from reaching the strip, home to 2.3 million people.
At least 560 Palestinians have been killed and 2 900 wounded in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave since Saturday, said Gaza’s Health Ministry.
The Israeli military said it had called up 300 000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas fighters were still holed up in several locations inside Israel two days after they killed hundreds of Israelis and seized dozens of hostages in a raid that shattered Israel’s reputation of invincibility.
In Israel’s south, scene of the Hamas attack, Israel’s chief military spokesperson said troops had re-established control of communities inside Israel that had been overrun, but that isolated clashes continued as some gunmen remained active.
Palestinians reported receiving calls and mobile phone audio messages from Israeli security officers telling them to leave areas mainly in the northern and eastern territories of Gaza, and warning that the army would operate there.
Hamas said its attack was justified by the plight of Gaza under a 16-year blockade and the deadliest Israeli crackdown for years in the occupied West Bank.
Mainstream Palestinian groups said the violence was nonetheless predictable, with a peace process frozen for nearly a decade and far-right Israeli leaders talking of annexing Palestinian land once and for all.
Egypt, which has mediated between Israel and Hamas at times of conflict in the past, was in close contact with the two sides.
Qatari mediators have held urgent calls with Hamas officials to try to negotiate freedom for Israeli women and children seized by the militant group and held in Gaza, in exchange for the release of 36 Palestinian women and children from Israel’s prisons, a source told Reuters.