Egypt designates 11 hospitals to treat Palestinians wounded in Israeli bombing of Gaza

Ahram Online , Monday 17 May 2021

Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing to receive civilians wounded in the Israeli bombing campaign

Palestinians receive treatment at the Shifa Hospital from their wounds caused by an Israeli airstrike that destroyed the upper floors of a commercial building and caused damage to the nearby Health Ministry and prime health care clinic, in Gaza City, Monday, May 17, 2021. AP

Egypt has designated a total of 165 ambulances and 11 hospitals, including six in Greater Cairo, to treat Palestinians wounded in the ongoing Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, which is entering its second week.

Up to 50 ambulances from the Suez Canal region, equipped with intensive care units and ventilators, have been designated to pick up the injured, in addition to 65 ambulances stationed in North Sinai cities, Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed told a cabinet meeting on Monday.

The Ministry of Health has also secured 50 additional ambulances from the Suez Canal region and other governorates to serve as emergency backup vehicles, Zayed added, according to state-run news agency MENA.

"Evacuating and receiving process has been carried out via the [health ministry's] Central Chamber Operations Centre, North Sinai Operations Centre, and the Egyptian Ambulance Authority's Operations Centre," Zayed went on saying.

Since Sunday, Egyptian authorities have opened the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing point between Egypt and Palestine's Gaza Strip, receiving a number of injured civilians from the coastal enclave.

During Monday's meeting, Zayed said that a rapid deployment team, comprising an emergency physician, a surgeon, an orthopedist, and a quarantine team, has been stationed at Rafah border crossing.

Regarding the specially designated hospitals, the health minister said that the first support line includes three hospitals in North Sinai (Sheikh Zuweid, Al-Arish, and Bir Al-Abd hospitals), with a total capacity of 288 beds, 81 intensive care beds, and 233 doctors.

The second line includes two hospitals in Ismailia (the Medical Complex and the Abu Khalifa Emergency Hospital), with a total capacity of 385 beds, 85 intensive care beds, and 1,145 doctors and nurses.

The health ministry has also allocated six hospitals in Greater Cairo (Nasser Institute Hospital, Dar Al-Shifa Hospital, Al-Mataria Teaching Hospital, National Bank Hospital, Ahmed Maher Hospital, and Sheikh Zayed Specialist Hospital), with a total capacity of 784 beds, 179 intensive care beds, and 3,606 doctors and nurses.

The minister said that the mild and high-risk cases have been transferred to North Sinai hospitals, while those who need further medical intervention, including orthopaedic surgeries and plastic surgeries, have been transferred to Cairo and Ismailia.

Egypt has dispatched 65 tons of medicines and medical supplies worth EGP 14 million to Palestine as per Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's directives, according to Zayed.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza over the past week have killed at least 198 Palestinians, including 58 children and 34 women, and injured at least 1,235, further overwhelming the Palestinian hospitals already clobbered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Israeli escalation in Gaza has been the deadliest since 2014.

Egypt has been attempting to mediate to reach a ceasefire.

An Egyptian delegation – which met Tel Aviv and Hamas officials last week – proposed a one-year truce to be monitored and coordinated by Cairo.

However, the Cairo proposal was rejected by Tel Aviv.

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