Israel systematically wrecking Gaza healthcare: MSF

AFP , Thursday 4 Apr 2024

Israel is systematically destroying Gaza's healthcare system, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Thursday, describing scenes of carnage that no hospitals in the world would be able to handle.

Al-Shifa
A man pushes a bicycle along as he walks amid building rubble in the devastated area around Gaza s Al-Shifa hospital on April 3, 2024. AFP

 

The medical charity said children were turning up in hospitals with gunshot wounds from drones, while many patients were being crushed under rubble then suffering severe burns.

MSF said deadly attacks on humanitarian staff showed either deliberate intent or reckless incompetence, and called for a change in how the war is being conducted.

Amber Alayyan, MSF deputy programme manager for the Middle East, said the healthcare system in Gaza before the war was imperfect but robust and improving.

"Now we're seeing the systematic and deliberate destruction of the healthcare system," she told a press conference at MSF's headquarters in Geneva.

Alayyan said the vast majority of injuries seen by MSF medics in Gaza were explosive injuries: the effects of bombs hitting homes.

"You get crush injuries to the abdomen, to the thorax; amputations are required for the legs and arms; and on top of that, patients suffer severe burns," she said.

"No healthcare system in the world can cope with the volume and type of injuries, and the medical conditions, that we're seeing on a daily basis.

"You could add 1,000 field hospitals; you're not going to be able to replace the healthcare system that was in Gaza before the war."

Alayyan described burnt and wounded people walking into clinics without a jaw, surgery performed on floors, and wounds beginning to rot.

"We see gunshot wounds now in children from quadcopters -- drones with guns," she added.

MSF said Israel was acting with impunity in the Palestinian territory, and said the UN Security Council's call for a ceasefire needed to be backed up with action.

MSF International's secretary general Christopher Lockyear said nearly 200 humanitarian workers had been killed in the war, including five MSF staff.

"This pattern of attacks is either intentional or indicative of reckless incompetence," he told reporters in Geneva, calling it "a war fought with no rules".

He said Israel allowing the attacks to happen was "a political choice" because "Israel faces no political cost".

"Instead, its allies enable this brutality with impunity and provide even more weapons."

He said all states supporting Israel were "morally and politically complicit".

Israel's brutal war on Gaza has killed 33,037 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry and its siege on the territory has pushed hundreds of thousands to the brink of famine.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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