July 19, 2024

The enclave’s second largest hospital is facing fuel shortage, threatening the lives of people seeking treatment and shelter.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says the al-Quds Hospital, the second largest in Gaza, has ceased operations due to a fuel shortage as Israeli forces continue to bomb the besieged enclave.

“The hospital has been left to fend for itself under ongoing Israeli bombardment, posing severe risks to the medical staff, patients and displaced civilians,” the PRCS said in a statement on Sunday, intensifying fears for the Palestinians seeking treatment and shelter there.

“This cessation of services is due to the depletion of available fuel and power outage. Medical staff are making every effort to provide care to patients and the wounded, even resorting to unconventional medical methods amid dire humanitarian conditions and a shortage of medical supplies, food, and water,” PRCS said.

The organisation said it held the international community and signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention accountable for the complete breakdown of Gaza’s healthcare system and the resulting dire humanitarian crisis.

Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said al-Quds Hospital has been cut off from the world in the last six to seven days.

“No way in, no way out,” said the spokesperson.

Al-Quds Hospital joins al-Shifa Hospital – another major healthcare facility in northern Gaza – and is also now closed to new patients, with staff saying that Israeli bombardment and a lack of fuel and medicine meant those already being treated could die.

Hospitals in the north of the Palestinian enclave are blockaded by Israeli forces and barely able to care for those inside, medical staff said. More people are being killed and wounded daily, but there are fewer and fewer places for the injured to go.

“My son was injured and there was not a single hospital I could take him to so he could get stitches,” said Ahmed al-Kahlout, who was fleeing south in accordance with Israeli advice while fearing that nowhere in Gaza was safe.

A plastic surgeon at al-Shifa Hospital said bombing of the building housing incubators had forced them to line up premature babies on ordinary beds, using the little power available to turn the air conditioning to warm.

The Gaza Health Ministry’s spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Israeli fire was “terrorising medical officials and civilians alike”.

The Israeli attacks have killed more than 11,000 people in Gaza in five weeks, most of them women and children.

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