Aid to Gaza through Egypt ‘nothing compared to damage’: Palestinian health minister

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 24 Oct 2023

Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Al-Kailah said the dozens of humanitarian aid trucks that have entered Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing are “nothing compared to the damage and losses” over the more than two weeks of Israeli strikes in the strip.

Aid arrives in Khan Younis
Palestinians unload boxes of medicine from a truck arrived at Nasser Medical Complex in southern Gaza as part of the aid batch that entered in to the Gaza strip from Rafah crossing Sunday. AP


In TV remarks on Monday, Al-Kailah said 10 out of the 35 hospitals in Gaza are currently out of service, including seven that have been damaged by Israeli strikes and three that ran out of fuel.

Al-Kailah also noted that the remaining hospitals are treating 16,000 injured while lacking basic health supplies including gauze and emergency drugs.

Khaled Zayed, the head of the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) in North Sinai, said more than 50 humanitarian aid trucks have entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing since the start of the attack.

Despite this positive step, hundreds of trucks carrying hundreds of tons of aid supplied from various local and international channels remain queued on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, awaiting the necessary authorization to proceed.

According to previous remarks by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths to CNN, the strip needs at least a hundred trucks per day worth of humanitarian aid. He also stressed the importance of ensuring the sustainability of these shipments.

Moreover, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported earlier that the typical daily influx of health and humanitarian supplies to Gaza used to be 600 trucks per day before the Israeli assault.

Meanwhile, El-Arish International Airport has received more than 33 planes carrying over 700 tons of humanitarian aid from countries across the world, Zayed told media on Monday.

The aid was also provided by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), he added.

The ERC head in North Sinai shed light on a recent meeting with Turkey's Ambassador in Cairo Salih Mutlu Sen and the group of 20 Turkish doctors who arrived to Egypt aboard a medical aid plane on Sunday.

Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said in a tweet that the plane also carried medicines and other medical supplies.

GAZZE’YE YARDIM İÇİN UÇAĞIMIZ HAVALANDI. Cumhurbaşkanlığımıza ait, ilaç ve tıbbı malzeme ile dolu, 20 uzman hekimin bulunduğu uçak Ankara’dan Mısır’a hareket etmiş durumda.

— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) October 22, 2023

The meeting discussed the possibility of Egypt establishing a field hospital in North Sinai and preparing hospitals in the governorate to receive some of the injured from the Gaza Strip, Zayed said.

Egypt’s Minister of Health Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar met on Monday with the Turkish ambassador and a number of top health officials from Turkey, where they discussed delivering medical aid to Gaza.

Abdel-Ghaffar said the Turkish Ministry of Health is willing to send up to 30 ambulances as well as Turkish doctors in order to enhance the ability of the health system in North Sinai to provide healthcare to Gazans.

Abdel-Ghaffar also met with the team of Turkish doctors who arrived in Egypt, briefing them on the Egyptian health ministry’s plan to provide urgent health services to Gaza citizens and informing them of the Egyptian hospitals that are involved in this plan.

Several planes carrying humanitarian aid have arrived in Egypt from Turkey since the start of the Israeli bombardment in Gaza.

Most recently, two Turkish aid planes arrived at El-Arish International Airport on Tuesday, a source in the ERC in North Sinai told Egyptian media.

Egypt has also received planes from many other countries carrying hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid, including from Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, Jordan, UAE, Tunisia, Venezuela, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and Denmark.


The unrelenting Israeli bombardment of Gaza over the past two weeks has killed more than 5,000 people, 70 percent of whom are women and children, Al-Kailah said on Monday, suggesting that the actual number of deaths is larger as more bodies are still under the rubble of the buildings struck by the Israeli forces.

Al-Kailah added that 42 percent of the buildings in Gaza were destroyed by the Israeli strikes and that around 1.5 million people of Gaza’s population, which amounts to around 2.3 million, have been displaced.

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