The ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza has taken a distressing toll on the healthcare system in the region. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 137 documented attacks on healthcare facilities, resulting in the deaths of 521 people, including 16 medical workers, as of November 12.
One such devastating attack occurred on October 15, 2023, when the Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prosthetics in Gaza was severely damaged by an Israeli airstrike. This hospital served as a vital facility, specializing in the installation of prosthetic limbs and providing rehabilitation services. Unfortunately, this was not the first time the hospital had been targeted, as it had already suffered damage in a previous Israeli bombardment in 2021.
The situation in Gaza is dire. The sustained bombardment by the Israeli military since October 7, 2023, has resulted in the deaths of over 11,000 people and injuries to more than 20,000 individuals. These attacks have displaced a significant portion of the population and caused widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and properties. This conflict was sparked by Hamas’s massive attack on Israel, leading to the death of 1,200 Israelis and the kidnapping of approximately 240 Israeli and foreign nationals.
This current outbreak of violence marks the fifth armed offensive that Gaza has faced since 2006, each resulting in numerous casualties and mass displacement. Furthermore, the repeated destruction has left a lasting impact on private properties and civilian infrastructure, with the repair process often taking years due to restrictions on imported construction materials. The blockade imposed by Israel since 2007 has further exacerbated the operational and structural challenges faced by healthcare and rehabilitation facilities.
Even before the recent escalation of violence, the majority of Gaza’s population relied heavily on humanitarian aid and food subsidies. Since the conflict began, basic necessities like water and electricity have been cut off, while all crossings for fuel and goods import have been closed. This has left the people of Gaza without access to essential services and has put immense pressure on healthcare facilities struggling to provide life-saving treatments to trauma patients.
The shortage of fuel also hinders the functioning of ambulances, making it difficult to reach those injured or trapped in hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, fuel is fundamental for operating water desalination plants and maintaining proper hygiene and disease prevention through garbage disposal.
The attacks on healthcare facilities and the resulting challenges faced by the people of Gaza highlight the urgent need for humanitarian aid and an immediate cessation of hostilities. The international community must come together to ensure the protection of healthcare infrastructure during times of conflict and support the provision of essential services to those in need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is the current situation in Gaza?
The Gaza Strip has been under sustained bombardment by the Israeli military since October 7, 2023. This has resulted in the deaths of over 11,000 people, injuries to more than 20,000 individuals, and widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and properties.
2. How many attacks on healthcare facilities have occurred?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been 137 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 521 people, including 16 medical workers, as of November 12.
3. How has the blockade impacted healthcare facilities in Gaza?
Since 2007, Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza, severely limiting the import of construction materials and hindering the repair and maintenance of healthcare facilities. This has added to the operational and structural challenges faced by these facilities.
4. What are the immediate needs of the people in Gaza?
The people of Gaza are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including access to water, electricity, and basic necessities. Healthcare facilities require fuel to continue providing life-saving treatments and attending to trauma patients.
5. What can be done to address the situation?
The international community must prioritize the protection of healthcare infrastructure during times of conflict and provide immediate humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. It is crucial to work towards a ceasefire and create conditions for lasting peace and stability in the region.