Medicines Sans Frontiers withdraws int'l staff from Gaza, new team set to take place

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Nov 2023

All international Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) staff left Gaza through the Rafah border crossing when it was opened on Wednesday, reported the MSF website on Wednesday.

MSF
People wait inside a vehicle belonging to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) outside the gate of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on November 1, 2023. AFP

 

On Wednesday morning, following negotiations between Egypt, Israel, and Hamas, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing to allow out over 70 critically injured people and nearly 400 people with foreign nationalities who have been trapped in Gaza since 7 October. 

The MSF revealed that while it has recalled all its international staff, a new team is set to take their place in Gaza, including a specialized medical team that has already been identified as ready to enter Gaza as soon as the situation allows.

“Many of our Palestinian colleagues continue to work and provide lifesaving care in hospitals and across the Gaza Strip, while the most basic protections for hospital and medical personnel are guaranteed,” read the MSF statement.

There are over 20,000 injured people in Gaza with little to no access to healthcare due to the siege, the MSF estimates. Among the two million Palestinians still trapped in Gaza under Israel’s constant shelling of the Strip are 300 Palestinian MSF staff and their families.

The statement concluded with a call to allow “those who wish to leave Gaza to be allowed to do so without further delay,” and that they must “also be allowed the right to return.”

The MSF also wants “to be able to move medical supplies and personnel into Gaza immediately to be able to respond to the desperate needs on the ground.”

An immediate ceasefire is desperately needed, the French non-governmental organization reiterated, adding that Gaza’s healthcare system is facing “total collapse.”

According to AP,  335 foreign passport-holders, mostly Palestinian dual nationals but also some foreigners, 76 critically wounded patients bound for Egyptian hospitals, and some staffers from aid organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees left Gaza Wednesday.

On the same day, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel has dropped more than 10,000 bombs on the Gaza Strip over the past three weeks. 

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Palestinian death toll is nearing the 9,000 benchmark.

 

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